The Catholic Bishops of Indiana have issued a pastoral statement urging Hoosiers to take a position against same-sex marriage. Though the statement itself does not directly address the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the accompanying press release indicates that this was the catalyst for the statement. The well-being of children, the family, and society are at stake, they wrote, if marriage is no longer defined by the conjugation of men and women:
With deep respect for all our brothers and sisters, we affirm the institution of marriage as the intimate communion of life and love between one man and one woman. Marriage is an intimate sharing of conjugal life and love. It involves the total gift of self in a partnership for the whole of life. Only by means of the complementarity between a man and a woman can this total gift of self be fully given and received.
We respect the equal dignity of all persons while upholding the uniqueness of the covenant of marriage as established by our Creator. The well-being of children, of the family, and of society is closely bound to the healthy state of marriage and respect for its true nature and purposes.
We urge the people of Indiana to respect and defend the dignity and equality of all persons as well as the truth about marriage, according to God’s plan and laws, with charity toward all.
Despite asserting that same-sex relationships are inherently inferior, the bishops claim that they are also promoting the dignity of “all people.” Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin hopes the statement will appease all audiences in this way: “On the one hand, I hope that the statement serves to affirm the great esteem we afford to the institution of marriage, a way of life that is prior to the nation-state and any government. On the other hand, we hope to reinforce the dignity of every human being, whom the Church accepts as a unique creation of our loving God.”
Glenn Tebbe, executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference, added, “We’re not castigating anybody. We’re not trying to discriminate against anyone.” Indiana’s amendment (HJR6) would prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions, and probably even domestic partnerships. Same-sex marriage is already prohibited by state law.