There's lots to think about on this matter, with some good Catholic resources right at our fingertips.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York wrote about the issue on his blog, The Gospel in the Digital Age. Here's some of what he had to say:
Our beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people. The Church affirms the basic human rights of gay men and women, and the state has rightly changed many laws to offer these men and women hospital visitation rights, bereavement leave, death benefits, insurance benefits, and the like. This is not about denying rights. It is about upholding a truth about the human condition. Marriage is not simply a mechanism for delivering benefits: It is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to pro-create children. Please don’t vote to change that. If you do, you are claiming the power to change what is not into what is, simply because you say so. This is false, it is wrong, and it defies logic and common sense.
Yes, I admit, I come at this as a believer, who, along with other citizens of a diversity of creeds believe that God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago. We believers worry not only about what this new intrusion will do to our common good, but also that we will be coerced to violate our deepest beliefs to accommodate the newest state decree. (If you think this paranoia, just ask believers in Canada and England what’s going on there to justify our apprehensions.)
But I also come at this as an American citizen, who reads our formative principles as limiting government, not unleashing it to tamper with life’s most basic values. (Read his full column HERE.)
Regarding the introduction of Gov. Cuomo's same sex marriage bill, the New York State Catholic Conference issued a statement regarding the potential issues this bill could cause for the Church down the road. Here's what Conference Director Richard E. Barnes said:
“While the language of the Governor’s bill obviously offers some religious exemption language not appearing in previous drafts of this legislation, our initial analysis is that it is not as comprehensive and adequate as has been passed and is being considered in other states.
“Also as a fundamental principle, we continue to oppose passage of this bill because it would redefine the institution of marriage.”
In his column, Put Out Into the Deep, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn wrote:
"We are tampering with nothing less than the laws of God Himself. The dangers and the threat to marriage as a societal good, especially as a sacrament, are very probable if same-sex marriages are recognized. Marriage has forever been, is now, and always will be a joining of one man and one woman in an everlasting relationship. It is undeniably consistent with natural law and biology, and should be apparent to all, regardless of religion. Marriage is a shared personal offering between the two that serves the couple in many ways, allowing them to cultivate their love and through that love, bring about children." (Read his full column HERE.)
Finally, Edward Mechmann, a lawyer who is also assistant director of the Family Life/Respect Life Office for the Archdiocese of New York, was interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez of The Corner over at National Review Online. Here's a piece of that conversation:
Kathryn Jean Lopez: How worried are you that marriage as we know it is about to change in New York State?
Ed Mechmann: We are very concerned about the redefinition of marriage. The arguments at this point are almost purely political. And the most powerful forces in New York politics — the governor, the Democratic party, the liberal activist groups, the gay community, and the public-employee unions — are all in favor of it. The only thing holding it back is the strong public opposition from religious groups and grassroots conservatives.
Lopez: What will that mean, practically speaking?
Mechmann: It will mean that every marriage in New York has been redefined. No longer will it mean what everyone in the world believed it meant (until about ten years ago). It will send a signal that marriage is merely a private arrangement for the subjective satisfaction of two individuals, with no significance to children or to society. And all this, at a time when families are in crisis, and when family instability can be identified as the source of many of our social problems. The law is a teacher, and it will be teaching a very bad, very dangerous lesson.
Continue reading HERE.