A pair of wedding bands symbolizing the sacrament of marriage is depicted in a stained-glass window at St. Isabel Church in Sanibel, Fla. CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

Florida bishops disappointed with court rulings on same-sex marriage

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  • January 6, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida's Catholic bishops said they were disappointed by a U.S. federal judge's ruling striking down the state's ban of same-sex marriage as well as with higher courts that denied a stay of the decision.

In reversing the state's ban of same-sex marriage, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee overturned a state constitutional amendment approved by nearly 62 per cent of voters in 2008, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a Jan. 5 statement.

Hinkle declared the state ban unconstitutional in August, but stayed the decision through Jan. 5 to allow time for legal appeals. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican, sought extensions of the stay from the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, but both turned her down, allowing for same-sex marriages to begin Jan. 6.

"Marriage based on the complementarity of the sexes is the lifeblood of family, and family is the foundation of our society," the bishops said. "The crisis that sadly the family is experiencing today will only by aggravated by imposing this redefinition of marriage. Society must rediscover the irreplaceable roles of both mother and father who bring unique gifts to the education and rearing of children."

The bishops said the redefinition of marriage "will have implications not yet fully understood."

"For the benefit of society and the common good, the conjugal understanding of marriage between a husband and wife and complementarity of a father and mother must be preserved so that the family can be a school of love, justice, compassion, forgiveness, mutual respect, patience and humility in the midst of a world darkened by selfishness and conflict," the bishops added.

Same-sex marriage now is recognized in 36 American states and the District of Columbia.

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