- Prayer and Worship
- Beliefs and Teachings
- Issues and Action
- Catholic Giving
- About USCCB
Find the Latest News on our homepage
Learn more about Religious Liberty at Home
Learn more about International Religious Freedom
Take Action! Text the word FREEDOM (or LIBERTAD)
to 377377 for updates
Watch current Videos
on Religious Liberty
for Religious Liberty at home and abroad
View our Fortnight Image Gallery
Join our Call to Prayer - Facebook Event
Our actions and intentions are inspired by the ideals of the gospel Jesus Christ: the call on us to love our neighbor and to serve those in need. The Catholic Church offers our country its greatest private school system, its largest health care system, its largest network of social service providers and one of the largest relief agencies CRS, Catholic Relief Services. These ministries serve all people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike… We are involved in these ministries not because the people we serve are Catholic, but because we are Catholic. To act differently would violate our deepest convictions.
Pope Benedict XVI taught: "Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself" (Sacramentum Caritatis, 29). As the following examples illustrate, efforts to redefine marriage are harming our religious liberties:
New Mexico (2013) – The owners of a photography studio would not take the pictures of a same-sex "commitment ceremony" because they did not want to participate in behavior contrary to their religious beliefs. In 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied the owners' appeal, affirming the lower court opinion that the studio violated the state Human Rights Act. The owners of the studio, who have also been ordered to pay almost $7,000 in attorneys' fees to the complaintant, have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Colorado (2013) – Two men "married" in Massachusetts requested a Denver bakery make a "wedding" cake for their wedding reception in Denver. For religious reasons, the owners of the bakery declined to make the cake. The two men filed a complaint with the Colorado Division of Civil Rights, which found that the bakery violated that law. After this finding, the Colorado Attorney General's office filed a complaint against the bakery, resulting in an administrative law judge deciding against the bakery.
Washington (2013) – A florist who declined to provide flowers for a same-sex "wedding" was sued by the state Attorney General.
Maine (2012) – The State of Maine has informed all notaries public (approximately 25,000) that regardless of religious objections, they must "wed" same-sex "couples," if they wed opposite-sex couples. Otherwise, these notaries could be subject to a claim of discrimination. In the words of one notary: "I'm a Catholic and under no circumstances would I do a same-sex marriage." He added, "I'm concerned that if I refused to perform a same-sex marriage, I could be challenged legally."Vermont (2012) – For allegedly not hosting a "wedding" reception for a same-sex "couple," Catholic owners of a bed and breakfast settled a discrimination lawsuit, requiring them to (1) pay a $10,000 civil penalty, (2) pay $20,000 to a charitable trust, and (3) not host wedding receptions of any kind. Upon settling the lawsuit, the owners of the bed and breakfast said, "But no one can force us to abandon our deeply held beliefs about marriage."
New Jersey (2012) – The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights found that a Methodist organization violated a public accommodations law by not allowing a same-sex civil union ceremony at its boardwalk pavilion.
Catholic Charities – Catholic Charities of Boston (2006), Catholic Charities San Francisco (2006), Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., (2010), and Catholic Charities affiliates in Illinois (2011) had to cease adoption services or face civil liability for not placing children in the homes of same-sex couples.
By accepting this message, you will be leaving the website of the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This link is provided
solely for the user's convenience. By providing this link, the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops assumes no responsibility for,
nor does it necessarily endorse, the website, its content, or