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Bishop Terry LaValley
Bishop Terry LaValley

Catholic diocese rededicates to teaching "authentic" marriage

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The Catholic Church leads opposition to New York's new law legalizing same sex marriage. In a statement over the weekend, Bishop Terry LaValley of the Diocese of Ogdensburg called the law "deeply disappointing and troubling."

The statement calls marriage between a man and a woman the only "authentic" marriage.

David Sommerstein spoke yesterday with Bishop LaValley about the new law and about his parishioners reaction to his statement.

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David Sommerstein
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"The statement was not issued in any way to hurt, to alienate or in any way anger any of our sisters and brothers," LaValley said. "It was merely a reaffirmation of the constant teaching of the church when it comes to marriage and our disappointment in the recent legislation."

Parishioner reaction to the statement was divided, but LaValley said overall they were affirming.

In the statement, LaValley said the Catholic Church teaches to "always treat our homosexual sisters and brothers with respect, dignity and love," but marriage is for the purpose of raising a child between one man and one woman.

"We certainly believe that from the moment we are conceived in our mother's womb, we are all equal. I'm no better than anybody else, heterosexual or homosexual. But there are differences," LaValley said. "And with the differences come different expectations, different things that society expects a person can do or can't do.

"I'm just concerned that saying that we are opposed to redefining marriage is somehow saying they are not equal, and that's not true. That's the reason why we say it's fundamental, what marriage is. That's not something the church defined, that's something even the culture has defined for us through the ages."

LaValley said culture evolves, but that this evolution - if that's what you want to call it - is not healthy. "I think even your social scientist agrees with the church; marriage has an essential role in the stability of society because it's about adults and children as the natural way to bring a man and a woman together," he said.

LaValley also said the family of a homosexual couple cannot be stable because "that dynamic of a mother and a father is lacking... To define marriage based on their sexual preference is wrong."




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