By Julia Willis
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Political and religious leaders encouraged Americans to promote traditional marriage with truth and love at the second annual March for Marriage.
Referencing the passage from the Gospel of Matthew, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, encouraged march participants June 19 to spread the message of the Gospel with love.
“It is easy to become resentful when you are relentlessly and unfairly painted as a bigot, and are punished for publicly standing by the basic truth of marriage as a foundational societal good,” Archbishop Cordileone told a crowd of several hundred. “It is tempting to respond in kind. Don’t. We must not allow the angry rhetoric to co-opt us into a culture of hate.”
Co-sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council, the March for Marriage brought grass-roots activists to the U.S. Capitol to illustrate that a “majority of Americans still stand for marriage” as the union of one man and one woman, according to event organizers.
Citing traditional marriage as “the key to individual and societal flourishing,” Archbishop Cordileone explained the importance of creating a culture of marriage within the U.S.
“Our society is broken and hurting in so many ways,” the archbishop said. “But none of the solutions will have a lasting effect if we do not rebuild a marriage culture, a culture which recognizes and supports … marriage between a man and a woman committed to loving faithfulness to each other and to their children. No justice, no peace, no end to poverty is possible without a culture of marriage and the family.”
Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, advocated for the dignity of all people as he explained that the movement in favor of traditional marriage “isn’t about hating anyone or anything.”
“This is a movement that is based in love for what is best for children and families in America,” Santorum said. “People from across the ideological spectrum will all admit that marriage between a man and a woman is best for raising children and building strong communities. We need to help rebuild marriage of men and women … with respect for all people.”
Highlighting procreation as one of the key differences between a romantic relationship and a marriage, the former senator urged participants to become involved in the movement to “reclaim marriage for what it truly is.”
As the crowd prepared to march to the U.S. Supreme Court building, Archbishop Cordileone encouraged the event’s participants to allow love to guide their future efforts in the movement.
“This noble cause is a call to love for us, a call we cannot abandon that … in the end, we know will triumph,” he said. “So my friends, we must not give up. The truth will not go away and we will not go away. Let us place our trust in God and let us go forth to build a civilization of truth and love.”
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Editors: A video on this story can be found at http://youtu.be/P-zFK9i3a2s.
Marchers feel encouraged in their stance for traditional marriage
By Sarah Hinds
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Father Rick Kosisko found a lot to be thankful for during the March for Marriage.
Joined by hundreds of supporters of traditional marriage at the U.S. Capitol June 19, the pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, told Catholic News Service he was pleased to know that others felt it was important to show up in Washington to share their views about the sacredness of the bond between one man and one woman.
“We feel called to be here,” he said.
“I saw a joyful group there at the rally,” he added as he and about 20 parishioners from across the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, made their way to meet with congressional representatives to press for policies that support traditional marriage. “I think it’s a foundation, and much like the March for Life, it will continue to grow.”
Mary Ellen Pellegrino, director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg, joined the Pennsylvania contingent. The group planned to meet with four elected representatives from Pennsylvania during their visit.
“We’re just here to tell them that we hope they will protect marriage, traditional marriage. I’m here because I want to champion the best interests of children,” she said. “In changing the definition of marriage, I think the children get lost.”
Several marchers likened the event to the March for Life. They expressed hope that the March for Marriage, organized by the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council, will someday match the March for Life in influence and magnitude.
“This march is the seed of a movement that is global,” said Deacon Keith Fournier of St. Stephen Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, Virginia, more than five hours from Washington. He said the long drive was worth the effort.
“It’s good to see a grass-roots movement being raised here,” he said.
“We’re not protesting anything,” he continued. “We’re standing for something, something good and wonderful: marriage, and the right of children to have a mom and a dad. The pro-life movement began with events like this and we’ve made tremendous progress. So I’m very, very encouraged.”
The event was especially well attended by young people who wanted to make their voices heard.
Carrying the state flag of Maryland, 13-year-old Xavier Krebs of Catonsville, Maryland, joined the march with several of his peers. “I’m here to make sure that people my age have a better future,” he told CNS. “To make sure we do things God’s way. God says that marriage is between one man and one woman and that’s how it should be.”
Helen Gorman, 17, came to the march with a friend, Kevin Oriani, 22, from Hyattsville, Maryland.
“I’m here because I don’t want the voice of those who believe in traditional marriage to be silenced. If society gets to a point where we can’t speak about it without immediately being censored, then it will be very hard to restore a culture that prizes and loves marriage,” Gorman said.
Many families with young children also gathered at the Capitol.
Jeff Coogan of Staten Island, New York, and his wife, Divonne, listened to the speakers from a distance as their toddler, Gerard, waved a sign that read, “Every child deserves a mom and a dad.”
“We’re here because we want to make a public stand in favor of marriage,” Coogan said. “We’re glad to meet other people of like-mind, and maybe our presence here will change someone’s mind.”
Christina Andrews and her husband Jonathan brought their six children to Washington from Tappahannock, Virginia. “I believe in God’s definition of marriage as one man and one woman for life,” Andrews said. “Truth is truth, no matter what people say.”
Those in attendance also varied in religious beliefs.
“A marriage constitutes a man and a woman, and to try to uproot this concept is flaunting a dismissal of the recognition that it is the almighty sustaining us, giving us life,” said Rabbi Yisrael Dovid Weiss of Monsey, New York. He and four other rabbis carried a banner that read, “The Almighty, in His Torah, forbids same-sex marriage.”
The march also had its opponents. Several protesters stood beyond the stage in view of the crowd, carrying rainbow flags and signs that read, “Love is love” and “Love not hate.”
Mandy Roach, 24, of Rhode Island, wearing a rainbow flag as a cape, told CNS, “I think every child should just have someone who loves and supports them. If you love someone and want to spend your life with them, you should be able to marry them just like anyone else.”
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