NEW YORK – Top Catholic leaders in New York have wasted no time in voicing their continued opposition to gay marriage since Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that allowed same-sex couples to marry into law on Friday.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the state's top Catholic leader, has called gay marriage "detrimental to the common good" and a violation of "natural law."
As the New York City's Gay Pride Parade was getting underway Sunday, Dolan reaffirmed the Catholic position on marriage in comments to reporters following a Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
"We as Catholics would oppose any attempt by anybody to redefine marriage, whether that … whomever that may be," he said. "We just don't believe that marriage can be changed and radically altered to accommodate a particular lifestyle."
Gay marriage became legal in New York late Friday night, after the Senate voted 33-29 to approve a bill to legalize marriage between same-sex couples. Gov. Cuomo signed the bill into law minutes before the clock struck midnight.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who represents the Diocese of Brooklyn, railed against gay marriage in an op-ed Sunday on NYDailyNews.com.
He called on Catholic parishes and churches to protest the bill's passage by not bestowing or accepting honors from any politicians and refusing to let any state elected official speak from their platforms.
In his essay, DiMarzio, who leads two of New York's most populous boroughs, Brooklyn and Queens, also suggested that opponents of gay marriage should "now speak more forcefully and clearly" against it.
The Brooklyn bishop said that society has lost the "primary purpose of marriage as the institution by which a man and woman bring new life into the world and teach the child to become a productive citizen." Marriage has been viewed as "legitimizing our individual need for love and affection."
This view of marriage has led to greater numbers of divorce, single parenthood and cohabitation outside of marriage, he said.
"I believe the passage of same-sex marriage is another 'nail in the coffin' of marriage," said DiMarzio. "It is destructive because we fail to view marriage in the context of a vocation: a calling to participate in the great enterprise of forming the next generation. Marriage is reduced to an empty honor."
DiMarzio also acknowledged in his opinion piece that opponents of same-sex marriage have failed to affirm traditional marriage in their discussions with those who face same-sex attractions.
"We have in part failed as the proponents of the historical understanding of marriage as that between a man and a woman precisely because we have sought to be sensitive to those who have same-sex attractions," he wrote.
"Perhaps we must now speak more forcefully and clearly."
DiMarzio also criticized the way the gay marriage bill was handled, saying "that there was virtually no public debate on the issue and that the entire matter was concluded in just over thirty minutes late on a Friday evening is disgraceful."
In the moments following the bill's passage, Dolan and DiMarzio also joined other Catholic bishops in New York to release a statement opposing the decision.
"The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled," the bishops said.
"We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization."
The statement was also signed by Howard J. Hubbard, Bishop of Albany; Edward U. Kmiec, Bishop of Buffalo; Terry R. LaValley, Bishop of Ogdensburg; Matthew H. Clark, Bishop of Rochester; William F. Murphy, Bishop of Rockville Centre and Robert J. Cunningham, Bishop of Syracuse.
It is still unclear whether any of the bishops plan to deny communion to any Catholic politicians such as Cuomo and Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti who supported the gay marriage bill.