Cardinal’s letter on marriage amendment

As we celebrate the Easter Season anticipating the Feast of Pentecost and the renewed outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, please be assured of my prayers.

During the course of the past year the Church has made an effort to participate in shaping public policy.

As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reminds us in the document “Faithful Citizenship,” it is our duty and indeed our obligation as citizens and as Catholics to participate in the political process. In the coming weeks, the Massachusetts State Legislature will consider a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The amendment, House Bill 4617, responds to the 2003 Supreme Judicial Court ruling that created a right to same-sex marriage in our state constitution. Joining with the other Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts, Catholic Citizenship and, I support the right of citizens to vote on the definition of marriage. As evidence that people wish their voice to be heard on this important matter, last fall over 123,000 citizens signed a petition supporting the amendment, the most signatures ever certified in a ballot campaign in Massachusetts.

In order to ensure that citizens can participate in decisions on the definition of marriage it is important that you contact your legislators and urge them to include the new marriage amendment on the November 2008 ballot.

The debate on the marriage amendment legislation, House Bill 4617 could begin as early as May 10 when a joint session of the House and Senate is scheduled. Fifty out of the combined group of 200 state senators and representatives must vote to move the amendment forward. Our elected officials must hear from Catholics and other concerned citizens as soon as possible. Please contact your state senator and state representative through personal visits, phone calls, and emails. Contact information can be found at: We recognize that there are those who disagree with us concerning these matters. However, we should all have the opportunity to form our own opinion and to vote on such an important issue.

Thank you for all that you do to support the Church and family life. With the help of God may we work together for the good of our society and all people.

Devotedly yours in Christ,

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley Archbishop of Boston May 3, 2006