Leaders representing some of the largest religious organizations in the country came together and penned an open letter in defense of marriage to warn against some of the potential consequences if same sex unions are redefined and called marriage.
Andrew W. Lichtenwalner, executive director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, in an interview with The Christian Post spoke of the serious implications that could arise if this nation redefined marriage not just to include one man and one woman.
One of the foremost issues the open letter deals with is protecting religious freedom: "A key aspect of the letter is raising awareness about the connection between protecting marriage and protecting religious freedom…We need to be confident in standing for marriage's meaning. It's not bigotry to stand for marriage. Protecting marriage is for the good of all people."
With this understanding comes the awareness that deep reaching implications arise when marriage and the impact on religious freedom is "understood both institutionally and individually."
The letter explains that "by a single stroke, every law where rights depend on marital status will change so that same-sex sexual relationships must be treated as if they were marriage."
The religious leaders wrote the letter to highlight the importance of protecting the meaning of marriage in conjunction with the right for religious freedom as a way to raise awareness about the connection between those two issues.
There could also be severe implications on religious institutions and even religious organizations which are concerned with social issues given that many of those organizations depend on government aid to facilitate their good deeds.
If marriage was to be redefined religious adoption services which place children exclusively with married couples would be required by law to place children with persons of the same sex.
Additionally, religious marriage counselors would be denied their professional accreditation for refusing to provide counseling in support of same-sex "married" relationships.
Even religious employers who provide special health benefits to married employees would be required by law to extend those benefits to same-sex "spouses."
These are just some of the likely outcomes if marriage is redefined and forced on others in society.
Lichtenwalner explains: "The Catholic Church acknowledges any legal recognition which changes the traditional understanding of marriage or any attempt that provides equivalency of same sex unions and marriage is unjust and wrong."
This goes for any relationship outside of marriage, including a man and a woman who may be cohabitating, are wrong and cannot be accepted.
The letter is not trying to deny anyone's basic rights but at the same time religious rights need also to be recognized.
Lichtenwalner understands that redefining marriage would not serve anyone's basic rights, especially children and that human rights should never be used a reason to change the structure of marriage. "Civil unions and similar arrangements are…essentially the legal redefinition of marriage in everything except for the name."
Lichtenwalner urges those who feel the idea of marriage is fading to "not give up hope. Those who stand for the truth of marriage are on the side of hope. The proposal to redefine marriage is a dramatic symptom of our culture's woundedness and brokenness."
He further explains that the "proposal did not appear overnight. It comes after many years of marriage erosion" and social degradation.