Cardinal Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, described the presidentâ€™sÂ endorsement as â€œdeeply saddening.â€
The bishops â€œcannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society,â€ he said in a May 9 statement. â€œThe people of this country, especially our children, deserve better.â€
Cardinal Dolan said that the announcement was â€œnot surprisingâ€ based on the Obama administrationâ€™s previous actions, which â€œerode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage.â€
He called for prayer and efforts to â€œpromote and protect marriageâ€ in order to â€œserve the true good of all persons.â€
In an unprecedented move, Obama announced his support for â€œsame-sex marriageâ€ in a May 9 interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.
â€œIâ€™ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,â€ he said.
The announcement came just days after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told NBC’s David Gregory that he is â€œabsolutely comfortableâ€ with the idea of homosexual couples marrying.
Previously, Obama had stopped short of endorsing â€œgay marriage,â€ saying instead that he opposes discrimination against gay individuals but that his views on the question of marriage were â€œevolving.â€
However, his actions as president have won the praise of gay advocacy groups.
His administration announced in Feb. 2011 that it would not uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes.
He also signed a law repealing the â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ policy, allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military.
Obamaâ€™s latest statement places him in firm disagreement with presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has signed a pledge to uphold marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Romney was quick to voice his opposition to Obamaâ€™s stance. [More]