Archbp. Dolan reacts to Pres. Obama’s betrayal of DOMA

From the site of the USCCB.  My emphases and comments:

Archbishop Dolan Calls Refusal to Defend Defense of Marriage Act an ‘Alarming and Grave Injustice’

WASHINGTON (March 3, 2011)— “Our nation and government have the duty to recognize and protect marriage, not tamper with and redefine it, nor to caricature the deeply held beliefs of so many citizens as ‘discrimination,’” [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). His statement followed the February 23 announcement that President Obama has instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a move Archbishop Dolan called an “alarming and grave injustice.”

Archbishop Dolan’s full statement follows:

The announcement on February 23 that the President has instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is an alarming and grave injustice. [It is also LAW.  didn’t Notre Dame give him an honorary doctorate in law?] Marriage, the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife, is a singular and irreplaceable institution. Only a man and a woman are capable of the “two-in-one-flesh” union of husband and wife. Only a man and a woman have the ability to bring children into the world. Along with that ability comes responsibility, which society historically reinforces with laws that bind mothers and fathers to each other and their children. This family unit represents the most basic and vital cell of any society, protecting the right of children to know and be known by, to love and be loved by, their mother and father. Thus, marriage represents the bedrock of the common good of society, its very foundation and future.

Contrary to the Attorney General’s statement, DOMA does not single out people based on sexual “orientation” or inclination. Every person deserves to be treated with justice, compassion, and respect, a proposition of natural law and American law that we as Catholics vigorously promote. Unjust discrimination against any person is always wrong. [NB] But DOMA is not “unjust discrimination”; rather, it merely affirms and protects the time-tested and unalterable meaning of marriage. The suggestion that this definition amounts to “discrimination” is grossly false and represents an affront to millions of citizens in this country. [Even if it offended only 10 from the 300+ million of the country, it would be an offense against Truth.]

The decision also does not stand the test of common sense. It is hardly “discrimination” to say that a husband and a wife have a unique and singular relationship that two persons of the same sex—or any unmarried persons—simply do not and cannot have. Nor is it “discrimination” to believe that the union of husband and wife has a distinctive and exclusive significance worthy of promotion and protection by the state. It is not “discrimination” to say that having both a mother and a father matters to and benefits a child. Nor is it “discrimination” to say that the state has more than zero interest in ensuring that children will be intimately connected with and raised by their mother and father.

Protecting the definition of marriage is not merely permissible, but actually necessary as a matter of justice. [And it is the duty of those who have sworn oaths to uphold the law.] Having laws that affirm the vital importance of mothers and fathers—laws that reinforce, rather than undermine, the ideal that children should be raised by their own mother and father—is essential for any just society. Those laws serve not only the good of the spouses and their children, but the common good. Those laws are now under relentless attack. If we forget the meaning of marriage, we forget what it means to be a human person, what it means to be a man or a woman. Have we wandered away so far in our society as to forget why men and women matter, and eroded the most central institution for our children and for our future?

The Administration’s current position is not only a grave threat to marriage, but to religious liberty and the integrity of our democracy as well. [OOH-RAH!] Our nation and government have the duty to recognize and protect marriage, not tamper with and redefine it, nor to caricature the deeply held beliefs of so many citizens as “discrimination.” On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I express my deep disappointment over the Administration’s recent decision. I have written of these concerns to the President in separate correspondence, and I pray that he and the Department of Justice may yet make the right choice to carry out their constitutional responsibility, defending the irreplaceable institution of marriage, and in so doing protect the future generations of our children.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Geremia says:

    Where’s your spine-staff picture for him? I like that picture.

  2. Seraphic Spouse says:


  3. Jacob says:

    I agree with everything here except the characterization of this move by the president as some kind of ‘betrayal’. Only the naive and innocent take Mr. Obama at his word when it comes to policy and issues he needs use to get reelected.

  4. Jacob: DOMA is the law. POTUS is obliged to uphold the law.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    One of the problems is that many of the law schools, including the one attended by Kagan, no longer teach law as based on Natural Law. Law is only what a society, or more specifically, a government states is law. What the brave Archbishop is doing is giving is a lesson to that generation of lawyers and politicians, who do not believe in a Creator endowing us with certain rights, and revealing a moral standard.

    The Catholic Church and Her brave leaders are some of the last champions of sanity facing the onslaught of relativism from the secular humanists. If I may quote one, John Herman Randall, Jr., “The Humanist temper has always protested against any subservience to an external law, whether religious or mechanical, imposed upon man from without… How are these principles to be justified? They are not derived from a divine or natural law, nor do they have any special metaphysical status. They are rules offered to govern how we shall behave. They can be justified only by reference to their results.”

    I call that relativistic utilitarianism.

    Archbishop Dolan, as head of the USCCB, has taken on the entire Washington establishment. God bless him.

  6. q7swallows says:

    Geremia: Ditto for me!

    Bring on the Spine-n-Staff icon!

    Tonight, this family raises a toast to Archbishop Dolan–even though 6 of the 9 of us are down with the flu! May he live long and continue to prosper!

  7. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    A statement to be grateful for! A laudable comment: “Even if it offended only 10 from the 300+ million of the country, it would be an offense against Truth” – even if only the fewer than ten righteous of Genesis 19, it’s not a matter of any kind of ‘majoritarianism’. Supertradmum has well said, “some of the last champions of sanity” – what a grievous, bizarre past century it has been, and is, and seems to go on becoming ever more so. What an ‘all too humanly’ inhuman ‘humanism’ where very steelly laws are imposed on as many as possible by a few, and ‘justified’ by fraud, and fear, and force.

  8. PostCatholic says:

    A president is not obliged to “uphold the law.” S/he is obliged to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” and in this case, our President’s Justice Department determined a law is not constitutional and is unlikely to be upheld in challenges to it, and spending money to uphold it is not in the interest of the taxpayers. You may or may not agree with all or part of that determination. For my part, I agree the law is unconstitutional and I agree that it is not likely to be upheld in appellate challenges in many federal circuits, and disagree that the SCOTUS will determine it unconstitutional. I think the challenges are likely to be made whether or not government attorneys and the Solicitor General defend it.

  9. disco says:

    Get that man a red hat!

  10. Supertradmum says:


    The Justice Department has not, in fact, made a decision on the case, as both cases he was referring to are cases are still in the states and have not gone to the Supreme Court. Potus has no Constitutional right to state his opinion as interfering with the court procedures, especially before the courts have ruled. In addition, DOMUS must be voted on in Congress, or upheld or defeated in the Supreme Court. Potus has made a unilateral and un-Constitutional move by stating the Federal Gov’t will not uphold something which came through Congress. He is acting like a tyrant.

    Therein, he should be impeached for using the Executive Branch in a Legislative Branch manner-and his statement doesn’t have any power but to pander to the LGTB lobby and undermine the other two branches of government,and/or show us that he really does not want Constitutional Government, that is, a Republic.

    DOMUS is only unconstitutional is you do not believe in Natural Law, upon which our Constitution is based.

  11. Supertradmum says:

    Post Catholic,
    Even if we disagree, you can pray for me to get my computer fixed somehow. Many keys are broken and I have to practically pound on them to work…and I am used to typing very quickly and not stop to bang on keys…I lose my stride and make more mistakes.
    Sorry about the typos–not two ares, and an if instead of an is-

  12. The whole idea of same-sex marriage is just baffling to me. As far as I know, we are becoming the only society in all of human history to attempt such a thing. Even societies (as Ancient Greece) which accepted certain same-sex sexual relationships always considered them a thing utterly and completely distinct from marriage.

    But, of course, we are Moderns and have Risen Above the Prejudices of our Benighted Ancestors, so the entire accumulated experience of human civilization is irrelevant. *eyes rolling*

    Have we wandered away so far in our society as to forget why men and women matter, and eroded the most central institution for our children and for our future?

    Sadly, it certainly appears so.

  13. Cincinnati Priest says:

    @ PostCatholic:

    “our President’s Justice Department determined a law is not constitutional and is unlikely to be upheld in challenges to it”

    That is precisely the problem. It is not the function of the executive branch to arbitrarily deem an act of Congress unconstitutional. That is the role of the judicial branch. Any 6th grade civics students knows this.

    Therefore, the POTUS is *not* upholding the Constitution as he is sworn to do. Hence the outrageousness of this latest shenanigan of the Obama administration. It is bad enough that he appointed two activist justices to the Supreme Court who are ideologues. Now he is trying to take over the prerogative of the entire Supreme Court.

  14. Supertradmum says:

    Cincinnati Priest,

    Thank you for your comment. That is what I was trying to say, but you said it more succinctly. I believe that DOMA must be upheld, or we shall see a great outpouring of persecution against the Catholic Church in the form of pressure to accept same-sex marriages. Priests like you will be in the forefront of conflict.

    The man in the WH has every intention of destroying religious freedom in the U.S.-first with the removal of the conscience clause, and then with this statement re: DOMA. This is only the beginning. I believe he is destroying our very Republic and those who do not see this are doomed to be sorely disappointed when he decides to squash their freedoms.

  15. AnAmericanMother says:

    This is simply insane.

    The Executive Branch has absolutely no authority to unilaterally “declare” an Act of Congress “unconstitutional”.

    Why there isn’t an overwhelming outcry is beyond me. Perhaps all the lawyers and judges (except Judge Vinson) are simply shell-shocked by the number and variety of the legal shenanigans this administration is engaged in.

    Any Catholic who supported this deluded megalomaniacal Marxist should be roundly ashamed of him or herself. You contributed to the impending attack on your own Church. Hope you’re happy.

  16. Supertradmum says:


    Are you a lawyer? Can’t law associations make public statements about potus’ agenda, or are these groups already polluted with the same mind-set? Is there a Catholic legal group which could make a strong statement based on Constitutional Law? I do not understand the deafening silence.

  17. Scout says:

    Cincinnati Priest, Supertradmum, and AnAmericanMother,

    What you are asserting is sometimes referred to as “judicial supremacy”. Carson Holloway takes on the “myth of judicial supremacy” over at The Constitution and the President’s DOMA Directive, Part II.

    According to this view, the Supreme Court of the United States is the ultimate authoritative interpreter of the Constitution, to whose understanding the other branches must bow.

    . . . no one branch can claim to be the “ultimate” or most authoritative interpreter of the Constitution, for such a claim would undermine the Constitution’s system of separation of powers. After all, if one branch could authoritatively interpret its own powers as well as those of the other branches, separation of powers would exist only on paper, while in reality the authoritative interpreter would reign supreme.

  18. MarkJ says:

    Obama has shown himself over and over to be an enemy of the Catholic Church and an enemy of the Truth. My personal response will be to pray and sacrifice more, and to speak the Truth more boldly in public in defiance of those who wish to impose their immoral views on society. We may not be able to save our country, but we can work to get as many people as we can into the Barque of Peter to weather the storm on their way to salvation. May God help each and every one of us to be heroic witnesses to the Truth.

  19. robtbrown says:

    PostCatholic says:

    A president is not obliged to “uphold the law.” S/he is obliged to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” and in this case, our President’s Justice Department determined a law is not constitutional and is unlikely to be upheld in challenges to it, and spending money to uphold it is not in the interest of the taxpayers.

    US Constitution, Art II, Sec 3.

    (The President) shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

    IMHO, Obamaco’s move is an attempt to win back the favor of the lefties, who are disillusioned with him because of GITMO, the ME wars, and the tax cuts.

  20. Clinton says:

    Which law do you suppose is next on our president’s list of those that shall either not be
    enforced or be left undefended in court? I do not like the idea of our chief executive making
    unilateral decisions concerning which of our duly constituted laws he will, in fact, uphold.
    Surely we all can see that that’s not a road this country wants to go down!

  21. Supertradmum says:


    It is not what he won’t support, but what he will do by executive order which concerns me: shut down the Internet, create a youth army of those who owe the gov’t college debt, martial law. The man is power-nuts. I honestly wonder if there is any political philosophy behind the smiles, except for pure narcissism.

  22. Kerry says:

    Nothing, not a single thing this President (sic.) does is done without a political motive. He craves adulation and power. I have heard speculation, (from whom I forget), that this move was an attempt to take attention away from events in Wisconsin. That he probably believes what he said about DOMA is beside the point of the tactical move. Over and over again, for the past two years and for the next two we can depend on outrageous and egregious actions and words from this very small man. If one cares to be completely disgusted and repulsed, look up his words from the Illinois Senate where four times he voted to let babies who survive abortions be left to die. Does he have ashes for a heart…?

  23. Denis says:

    This might not be such bad news. If the president gets to decide what is or isn’t constitutional, all we have to do is make sure to elect a pro-life, pro-marriage president. He/she can annul Roe v. Wade and declare gay marriage unconstitutional, maybe even bring back sodomy laws. After all, it’s a “myth” that the president can’t decide these things.

  24. Patti Day says:

    I do wish Catholic media (it was mentioned numerous time on EWTN-Raymond Arroyo’s, The World Over) would stop referring to TRADITIONAL mariage. There is one definition of marriage, the union between one man and one woman. Addressing it as ‘traditional’ marriage implies that marriage can be something other than one man and one woman. I know it’s a small thing, but it’s a foot in the door, and when we Catholics start saying it that way, we imply that there is room to consider it.

  25. Supertradmum says:


    I lived in Illinois when potus was casting, (or being absent for key votes) his terrible anti-baby votes. I could not believe that such a man could be president. From 2004, I was aware of his disdain for life. He hasn’t changed.


    The paradigm for our nation has shifted, and potus and his Chicago Alinskyites have shifted it. Do not pretend this type of dictatorship will not get worse.

  26. Margaret says:

    @Patti Day– a very good point. But it might be worth referring to Authentic Marriage as needed, to distinguish it from the sham that is being promoted in many quarters…

    A question from someone whose sixth-grade civics is a little rusty– even in the event that Legislative Branch were to pass a clearly outrageous law (say imposing the death penalty for running red lights) wouldn’t the Executive Branch be compelled to see the law through the system (and likely with a stay thrown on it almost immediately from the nearest bench) until such time that the Judicial Branch deems it unconstitutional?? Am I forgetting something??

  27. Denis says:


    If they’ve shifted the paradigm, can’t the new one be used against them? Of course, that would require conservatives to be a little less nice.

  28. Supertradmum says:

    Are we nice, Denis?

  29. Denis says:

    Well, yes, on both gay marriage and abortion, conservatives have tried to do everything in a way that is very sensitive to constitutional, federalism, while the other side has essentially degraded both. Now that the president can just decree that something is inconstitional, and can order the DOJ to sabotage the defense of a law…well I think it’s time to stop operating within the confines of a constitutional order that no longer exists.

  30. benedetta says:

    What are the statistics, whereas a majority in the country agrees that abortion should be restricted, less than a majority are supportive of same-sex marriage recognition. It was pretty bad for Obama to take the stand he did against the infants born alive legislation, and even more draconian now to ignore the will of the people on the continued slaughter of the innocents while prioritizing the demands of a powerful lobby.

Comments are closed.