CANTERBURY, England - “In Ireland,” says a character in a 1904 George Bernard Shaw play, “the people is the Church, and the Church is the people.”

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As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on April 28 that could wind up legalizing gay marriage nationwide, dozens of Christian leaders have issued a call to civil authorities to preserve “the unique meaning of marriage in the law” — but also to “protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage.”

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When the U.S. Supreme Court declared it will rule in the coming weeks whether same-sex marriage will be extended nationwide, the esteemed New York Times and others called the issue “one of the great civil rights questions of the age.”

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MANILA, Philippines - Appealing to the traditional values of Filipino Catholic families, Pope Francis made one of his strongest calls as Pope against movements to recognize same-sex unions as marriage.

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The international Anglican commission with responsibility for keeping the Anglican Communion together has asked the Anglican Church of Canada not to change its canon law to allow same-sex marriage.

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PHILADELPHIA - The 1996 Pennsylvania law that recognizes marriage between one man and one woman is unconstitutional, a U.S. federal judge ruled May 20, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in the state.

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WASHINGTON - In its second day of oral arguments about aspects of laws related to same-sex marriage March 27, the Supreme Court spent little time discussing the actual definition of marriage, focusing instead on issues of jurisdiction, state's rights, motives behind the federal Defense of Marriage Act and timing.

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Interfaith dialogue doesn’t reach agreement, but ‘winner-take-all’ wrong approach

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PARIS - A French bishops’ spokesman urged politicians to “listen to the streets” after hundreds of thousands of people rallied against same-sex marriage.

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PARIS - France's Catholic bishops are backing plans for a national demonstration against same-sex marriage legislation, which is expected to be approved by lawmakers later in January.

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INDIANAPOLIS - In a decision that could strain relations with the Catholic Church and within its own Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church in the United States has approved liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The church's House of Bishops voted 111-41 July 9 in favour of provisional use of the resources until the next General Convention, held every three years. About 80 per cent of the church's House of Deputies gave their approval July 10.

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WASHINGTON - Catholic leaders rejected U.S. President Barack Obama's May 9 declaration in a television interview that "personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

"President Obama's words today are not surprising since they follow upon various actions already taken by his administration that erode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, in a May 9 statement.

"We cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better."

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VATICAN CITY - The Catholic Church condemns violence and discrimination against homosexual persons, but recognizing same-sex unions as a marriage devalues the unique identity and social contributions of the union of a man and a woman, a Vatican official told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Vatican observer at U.N. agencies in Geneva, told the council March 9 that the Vatican "condemns discrimination and violence against any human person, including those who are so targeted because of perceived sexual differences."

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TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Feb. 17 made good on his pledge to veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed by the state Legislature but at the same time said he might name an ombudsman to make sure the state's current law recognizing civil unions is respected.

The state Assembly passed the bill Feb. 16 with a 42-33 vote. The state Senate approved it 24-16 Feb. 13.

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WASHINGTON - By a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the California ban on same-sex marriage, saying that it violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees citizens due process and equal protection under the law.

The majority opinion, issued Feb. 7, said that the state, which had given homosexual couples the right to marry, could not revoke that right.

The National Organization of Marriage Education Fund, in a statement issued by its director, Brian S. Brown, accused the judges of "finding a 'right' to same-sex marriage in the United States Constitution!"

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