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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  January 27, 2004
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Bishops respond to gay marriage issue
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(Boston-AP) -- The state's four Catholic bishops have issued a strongly worded letter calling the recent court decision on gay marriage a national tragedy that could further erode the institution of marriage.

The bishops say a deadline set by the state's highest court doesn't give lawmakers and citizens enough time to respond.

In its 4-to-3 decision, the Supreme Judicial Court gave the Legislature 180 days to rewrite the state's marriage laws to provide benefits for gay couples.

The bishops, including Boston Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, say the church instead favors a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Gay activists say the state should be required to offer same-sex couples the same legal rights as other married couples.

The letter was read at Masses across Massachusetts this weekend.

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