An outspoken and fervently anti-gay Catholic archbishop took the occasion of Rhode Island's marriage equality bill this week to offer a scathing rebuke of same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco published his critique of the legislation Friday on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) website. (Cordileone is chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.)
Rhode Island's same-sex marriage bill, passed by a 56-15 vote on Thursday, was “a serious injustice," according to Cordileone, in that it attempted to redefine marriage as some thing other than a union between a man and a woman.
"The meaning of marriage cannot be redefined, because its meaning lies in our very nature," the Catholic leader wrote. "Therefore, regardless of what law is enacted, marriage remains the union of one man and one woman – by the very design of nature, it cannot be otherwise."
Cordileone, who played a prominent role in California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 legislation, also suggested that same-sex marriage is harmful to children.
"Every child deserves a mother and father united in marriage," Cordileone wrote in his USCCB statement. "That means supporting in our institutions and in our culture the true and unique meaning of marriage."
Ever since being appointed Archbishop of San Francisco by the Vatican in July, Cordileone has made several controversial pronouncements on the subject of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
In January, Cordileone said the term gay marriage refers to a "natural impossibility" and should be rarely used, and also made an unusual comparison between marriage equality and male breastfeeding.
In March, the religious leader claimed heterosexual sex is superior to homosexual sex.
"Two men and two women can certainly have a close loving committed emotional relationship, but they can never ever join as one flesh in the unique way a husband and wife do," he told USA Today.
Still, Cordileone is not the first Catholic leader to speak out against Rhode Island's same-sex marriage legalization.
Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin, the Roman Catholic leader of Rhode Island, warned Catholics not to attend same-sex weddings.
“At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful,” Tobin explained in an open letter on the day same-sex marriage became law in Rhode Island.