Fr. Richard Welch

HLI NEWS RELEASE - January 5, 2000

FRONT ROYAL, VA, January 5, 2000-"Marriage is a sacrament. It is founded by God Himself. It is holy. Courts and legislatures are trying to destroy marriage, and religious leaders must end their silence and start speaking up in defense of it." So said Fr. Richard Welch, CSSR, JCD, president of Human Life International, in response to a recent ruling by the Vermont Supreme Court.


"Vermont's high court ordered the legislature to confer upon active homosexuals, who affirm that they reside together and commit sodomy together, all of the legal prerogatives, rights and protections that pertain only to a husband and wife in marriage," stated Fr. Welch.


"Religious leaders and the public need to realize that this ruling does not apply to people who reside together only as roommates instead of as partners in sodomy," Welch added. "The Vermont Supreme Court ruling makes an act that until recently was a crime everywhere - sodomy - the qualifier for receiving the legal privileges of marriage."


"Yet the Church teaches that sodomy is a sin and a vice," said Fr. Welch. "There can be no right to do wrong, and no rights based upon a sin. This ruling devalues and diminishes marriage's legal and moral footing and makes sodomy its equal."


"Furthermore, the Vermont high court edict will make citizens - taxpayers - pay for the benefits granted to the active homosexuals. Where are the rights of taxpayers? The rights of individual Christians, Jews and Moslems who oppose sodomy? The rights of the Church?" asked Fr. Welch. "It is profoundly evil and a grave injustice to make people subsidize sins and violate their conscience."


"These arrogant and elitist judges are not interpreting existing law, they are inflicting politically correct rules on society," continued Fr. Welch, who is a canon lawyer. "This edict is legally baseless, and therefore lawless and tyrannical."


"Religious leaders must recognize that this decision, and others like it, are nothing less than a ruthless and totalitarian assault on religion itself, as well as on marriage, the family, all society and the law," said Fr. Welch. "This is an example of government usurping the right of the Church to define and guard morality."


"If this Vermont ruling stands, courts and legislatures will not only start to cite it as an iron-clad precedent, they will expand its meaning so as to infringe farther upon the rights of the Church," Fr. Welch explained. "Make no mistake, they will declare it a hate crime for the Church to call sodomy a sin, to quote Scripture against sodomy and to affirm that marriage is possible only between a husband and a wife."

"These courts and legislatures no longer will defer to the Church's teaching authority or to Scripture. They will persecute the Church for refusing to grant active homosexuals the sacrament of marriage. They are determined to criminalize the way Christians and Americans have always believed, taught and acted."


"What can we do about the Vermont court's judicial tyranny, and about similar laws and edicts?" asked Fr. Welch. "The first thing is to pray to God for help, and for the personal strength, wisdom, holiness and charity necessary to stand up for what is right." Fr. Welch suggested seeking the intercessory help of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions, the holy martyrs who an African king murdered in the 19th century because, as Catholics, they refused to commit sodomy with him.


"The next thing we can do is to understand the nature of current developments. The homosexual activists have their own lobby and agenda for social change. One of their most effective tactics is to manufacture lawsuits in the hope of obtaining victories such as the one the Vermont high court handed them."


"Another highly effective tactic of the homosexual lobby is to call everything it wants a 'right' and to term itself a 'minority' and 'community.' No Christian should use the term 'homosexual rights,' because that dignifies the wish list of homosexual activists as 'rights' and gives them the moral high ground," said Fr. Welch. "Nor should we legitimize individuals who commit sodomy by equating them with actual minority groups and communities."


"No Christian should ever be taken in by another tactic of the homosexual lobby, which is to chastise and smear everyone who defends morality, marriage, the family and religion," Fr. Welch continued. "It is neither 'hate,' 'intolerance,' 'homophobia' or 'discrimination' to love active homosexuals enough to urge them to repentance and conversion to Christ, or to point out the overwhelming flaws in their schemes to remake society and to oppose and subvert religion and morality.


"No court or legislature can ever alter nature and the natural law. God determined those things, and mankind is powerless to change them. God is the One Who grants our rights. No human being can invent new rights, or claim that any sin is a right. And in any case, what would make our era so special that somehow we could suddenly overrule God about what is right and wrong?"


"What else can we do to oppose the Vermont court decision and others like it?" asked Fr. Welch. "Our religious leaders must take a stand. They can sponsor letter-writing campaigns. They can hold Masses in defense of marriage and the family, as well as large-scale prayer rallies, marches, vigils and other events."


"Our religious leader also can demand that the state and federal legislatures and executive branches use their legitimate powers to stop courts from committing judicial tyranny such as the Vermont decision," Fr. Welch added. "After all, the Church has always taught that an unjust law carries no force, that an unjust law is no law at all and that Christians may not assent to, uphold or obey an unjust law."


"Finally, our religious leaders can tell government bodies and the homosexual lobby that they are serious - that they are willing to undergo persecution to stand up for what is right and to defend the rights of God and the Church. The enemies of God, the Church and morality are determined to have their way," Fr. Welch concluded. "As bad as it is, the Vermont decision is only a shadow of the persecution to come. It is high time that our religious leaders recognize this situation for the extreme danger that it is."