July 17, 2015

Be Our Guest / Greg Zoeller

Despite court decision, greatest law remains loving God above all, neighbors as ourselves

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin’s response in the July 3 issue of The Criterion to the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision made me put aside my legal defense of Indiana’s marriage laws in my role as attorney general, and reminded me of my wedding day. In November of 1988, my wife Kerrie and I were married at St. Joan of Arc Church in Indianapolis by Father Tom Murphy.

We had met while I was working for then-Sen. Dan Quayle, and she worked for Sen. Richard Lugar. During our engagement, Quayle was nominated for vice president, and I traveled on his campaign from August until the election in November—just in time for our marriage preparation and Pre Cana weekend. The whirlwind of the presidential campaign and the questions of career and a new life together with Kerrie made for an exciting, yet anxious time.

Father Murphy was a remarkable influence on our marriage preparation with his joy for life and his unique ability to make everyone want to celebrate God’s love for us every day. The meaning of marriage was never more abundantly clear than in the sacrament where we professed our vows before God and our family and friends on our wedding day.

Following the Mass, we had the traditional photos with the wedding party, and Father Murphy came up to have a photograph taken signing our marriage license. Although I had been an attorney for a number of years by that time—as was also true of Father Murphy—I had completely forgotten the legal document recognizing the grant of permission of the State of Indiana and the contractual rights and obligations emanating from the license.

The distinction between the holy sacrament of marriage and the marriage license was clear that day, and Archbishop Tobin’s message reminded me of the truth of that fact.

For all of the uncertainty and fear that the Supreme Court’s decision has caused many in our country, it is good to be reminded that our faith is not based on the laws of mankind but of God, and that the greatest law of all is that we love God above all and our neighbors as ourselves.

(Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis. He wrote this personal commentary in his private capacity as a parishioner and lawyer in Indiana, and not in an official government capacity.)

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