Robert McElroy. Photo courtesy of Archdiocese of San Francisco

The leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese in San Diego said Friday the church will continue to teach that marriage is a bond between one man and one woman, but respect the “loving and familial relationships” of gay men and women.

Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws banning same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, Bishop Robert McElroy said the nature of marriage and family can’t be redefined by society.

“The Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial counties will continue to honor and embody the uniqueness of marriage between one man and one woman as a gift from God — in our teaching, our sacramental life and our witness to the world,” McElroy said. “We will do so in a manner which profoundly respects at every moment the loving and familial relationships which enrich the lives of so many gay men and women who are our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, and ultimately our fellow pilgrims on this earthly journey of life.”

The debate over the issue has often pitted the faithful against gay marriage advocates, and sometimes divided religious communities that have varying interpretations of biblical commandments on marriage and homosexuality.

“The legal recognition of marriage is not only about personal commitment but also about the social commitment that husband and wife make to the well-being of their children,” McElroy said. “It is for this reason that it is important for government to give a unique status to marriage between one man and one woman both in law and in public policy.”

The diocese said McElroy, who was installed as bishop in April, was out of town and would have no further comment.

— City News Service

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