It Begins...Again

Same-sex marriage was defeated in last year's legislative session, but a new bill will be introduced in the MD Senate and House of Delegates next week, according the Maryland Catholic conference.

Gov. O'Malley has promised to shepherd it through to victory.

The Maryland Catholic Conference is sending people to for action in opposition. Find good resources for why marriage matters, practical ways to help -- including, immediately, $$ is needed for advertising, and there's a pro-marriage rally Monday, January 30 from 6-8 pm at Lawyer's Mall in Annapolis.

Archbishop O'Brien, lately of Baltimore (and still its administrator) had an excellent piece explaining why the defense of marriage is not a parochial Catholic concern last July in response to O'Malley's switch on the issue.
Here's the Catholic position:
Supporters of the measure have tried to market it to Marylanders by calling it a civil rights issue. Doing so not only ignores the rights of children, but also is an affront to many African-Americans and to others who lived and labored during this country’s Civil Rights Era. In all likelihood, each of us knows and loves homosexual persons and believes they should be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else. We not only do not dispute this, we most vehemently demand it. As Catholics, it is ingrained in our very nature to love and respect all persons, and it is perhaps this impulse that many Catholics confuse as a rationale for accepting same-sex marriage. But there are other avenues for granting certain rights and benefits to couples who are not married. Maryland has already taken this step by passing recent legislation granting to domestic partnerships such rights as medical decision-making, hospital visitation and exemptions from real estate transfer and inheritance taxes.
There are many ways of protecting basic human rights; sacrificing marriage isn’t one of them. And those who believe as much should not be bullied into silence for fear of being branded bigots. Treating heterosexual and same-sex relationships differently does not equate to unjust discrimination. Upholding the truth of marriage furthers the rights and equal dignity of all human persons by promoting a social fabric where children can benefit from the unique gifts of a mother and a father.
In his frequent references to religious exemptions, it is clear the governor and others are hoping to gain votes for the bill by quelling the voices of religious leaders and others who rightfully believe such legislation tramples religious freedoms. Despite the limited measures some states have taken to protect religious institutions, none have recognized the religious freedom of individuals. Specifically, they should be protected against having to violate their moral beliefs about marriage. It is hard to believe that any measure can avoid the inevitable collision that redefining marriage will bring between government and people of faith. The slippery slope has already become an impending avalanche and who can seriously guarantee that efforts to promote “religious exemptions” will survive future judicial or legislative reversals.
But more than private interests are at stake:

More importantly, our fundamental concern about redefining marriage does not rest on a concern simply to protect our own interests, but to protect the interests of our whole society. And these interests need protecting at the state and national levels, as President Obama has also apparently changed his public position on this issue given his recent decision to support a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
And we need to be equal to bullies who shout us down:
What our nation and this state need is the kind of leadership on display during this past legislative session when legislator after legislator in Maryland’s General Assembly brought the courage of their convictions to the public square. In rejecting legislation to redefine marriage, those legislators stood tall amidst the barrage of back door arm-twisting and deal-making to put what is best for Maryland, best for society ahead of political interests. Such convictions are formed at home, at school and at church, and are what help to raise issues as grave as these above partisan politics and special interest efforts. Those pressures will greatly intensify this year, and it is imperative that we match them with our own unabated voices and unceasing prayers.
Please go to and get involved. This is not an inevitable loss for our side...unless we give in to what sociologists call the spiral of silence.