Religious leaders from a wide array of denominations have released a joint statement reaffirming their support for traditional marriage ahead of the Supreme Court's hearing of oral arguments on Tuesday. The Christian leaders have said that reaffirming marriage as being between one man and one woman is vital for protecting children and offering them both a father and a mother.
"As religious leaders from various faith communities, we acknowledge that marriage is the foundation of the family where children are raised by a mother and a father together," the statement reads, in part.
The Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Most Rev. Foley Beach, the archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, and Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco and chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, are just some of the notable names that have signed the letter.
On April 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether states have the right to determine their own definition of marriage, or whether the Constitution requires all 50 states to make same-sex marriage legal.
Presently 36 states, as well as the District of Colombia, have legalized same-sex marriage, while 13 states have bans on the practice.
The joint letter states that defending the traditional definition of marriage is about the well-being of children, and insists that every child has the right to both a mother and a father.
"Marriage as the union of a man and a woman is the only institution that encourages and safeguards the connection between children and their mother and father," the religious leaders said.
"Although this connection cannot always be realized and sustained — and many single parents, for example, are heroic in their efforts to raise their children — it is in the best interests of the state to encourage and uphold the family founded on marriage and to afford the union of husband and wife unique legal protection and reinforcement."
They add that there are "serious consequences" to redefining marriage also for religious freedom, as it would require same-sex relationships to be treated as the same as heterosexual unions.
"No person or community, including religious organizations and individuals of faith, should be forced to accept this redefinition. For many people, accepting a redefinition of marriage would be to act against their conscience and to deny their religious beliefs and moral convictions," the statement continued.
"Government should protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage to express their beliefs and convictions without fear of intimidation, marginalization or unwarranted charges that their values imply hostility, animosity, or hatred of others."