"Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has written to all Catholic bishops asking them to personally urge their Senators to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.
"The first vote on the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which has become popularly known as the Federal Marriage Amendment, is expected to occur in the Senate as early as mid-July.
"The measure, introduced as S.J. Res. 30 by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO), reads as follows:
"'Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.'
"In the letter (June 24), Bishop Gregory noted that while the proposed amendment defines marriage as between one man and one woman, it leaves legislative decisions on civil unions or domestic partnerships up to the state legislatures, which already have this authority.
"Since opponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment are expected to mount a filibuster against it, the key vote in the Senate will likely occur on a motion to bring debate to a close (i.e., invoke 'cloture'). Under these circumstances, cloture is a necessary step before the Senate can vote on the substance of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Bishop Gregory said.
“'Your message should also strongly support any effort to stop a "filibuster" and allow the Senate to vote on this vitally important matter,' he wrote."
Bishops in turn are asking parishioners to let their Senators know how they stand on this issue.
Senators can be contacted via the U.S. Senate Web Site at www.senate.gov.
Additional information is available at www.allianceformarriage.org.