Religious reaction to Iowa gay marriage ruling - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Religious reaction to Iowa gay marriage ruling

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Several religious groups are speaking out following Friday's Iowa Supreme Court decision overturning the state's ban on gay marriage. The ruling says the ban is unconstitutional.

This weekend, church leaders around the state addressed the ruling with their congregations during services. KWWL visited with two churches in Dubuque for a religious perspective on the ruling. First we visited St. Columbkille Catholic Church, and then the Dubuque Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The topic was addressed in both services.

During Palm Sunday Mass, Father Gabriel Anderson addressed parishioners reading a statement from the Iowa bishops.

"On Friday April 3rd, the Iowa Supreme Court came up with a decision for gay marriage, and our bishops have a concern. 'We the Roman Catholic bishops of Iowa strongly disagree with the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court.'"

The Catholic Church says the new ruling threatens families.

"It affects all of society that the whole concept of marriage between one man and one woman for their mutual well-being and for the raising of children, parenting is so important, and as we break away from that it becomes potentially grievously destructive and as the bishops say will grievously harm families and children," Anderson said.

Now, the Catholic Church wants legislators to amend the state constitution.

"We're looking that Iowa would affirm that a marriage is between one man and one woman. And being that we're the heartland of the country, it's a very important affirmation for other states and other parts of the world," Anderson said.

At the Dubuque Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, most members agree with the recent ruling.

"We are what's called a welcoming community which means we are very interested in having all people come to our church that are faith-filled. And certainly, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered individuals fill well into this congregation," Wendy Woodhouse said.

During Sunday's service, one woman expressed joy about being able to legally marry her partner, saying, "I am just elated, and still in shock that we're finally going to be able to do this."

"I think it's just a part of a process of people gaining freedom. I'm very happy the Iowa supreme court decided to take this opportunity to expand the freedoms and access to marriage," Jean Becker said.

Here is the statement from the Iowa Catholic Bishops:

We, the Roman Catholic Bishops of Iowa, strongly disagree with the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court, which strikes down Iowa's law defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman. This decision rejects the wisdom of thousands of years of human history. It implements a novel understanding of marriage, which will grievously harm families and children.

This unwarranted social engineering attacks the good that marriage offers to society, especially the good of children, and weakens the critical relationship between marriage and parenting. We will resolutely continue to protect and promote marriage as a union between a man and a woman because of its unique and historical contribution to the common good.

We uphold the right of all people to be treated with respect and live in peace. This right, like the right to enter into a permanent, monogamous marriage of one man and one woman, derives directly from the intrinsic dignity of the human person. These are rights  which the state has the duty to recognize and protect. They are not something that the state creates or may redefine. The citizens of every state who have been given the opportunity have voted to preserve civil marriage as it has been recognized and defined since the beginning of recorded history.

Therefore, we exhort Catholics and other citizens of Iowa to recognize the clear need for a constitutional amendment on marriage. We affirm that supporting the ideal of marriage as the stable union of one man and one woman is necessary to defend marriage, families, children, and the common good.

Most Rev. Jerome Hanus, OSB, Archbishop of Dubuque

Most Rev. R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City

Most Rev. Martin Amos, Bishop of Davenport

Most Rev. Richard Pates, Bishop of Des Moines

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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