Archbishop Meets with Faith Community to Argue Against Question 6

In a Gonzales Research & Marketing poll released this week, 51 percent of voters said they will vote for Question 6 and same-sex marriage, while 43 percent said they will vote against it.

By CAITLIN JOHNSTON, Capital News Service

At a private event this week, Archbishop William E. Lori and members of the faith community called Maryland's same-sex marriage referendum "misleading" and a "threat to marriage."

"This isn't about rights or needs or benefits," said Joe LeGath of St. Mark Church in Catonsville. "This is a subtle attack on religious freedom."

The event, co-sponsored by the Maryland Marriage Alliance and the Maryland Catholic Conference, was held at St. Mary's Seminary and University and was closed to the public and media.

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The night featured the Archbishop, about 200 guests and several other speakers. Participants came from throughout Maryland, D.C., Delaware and New York, and included Catholics, Muslims, Evangelicals and other faiths.

Attendees received folders with commonly asked questions, fliers and pulpit announcements. Handouts outlined the "significant benefits" already granted to same-sex domestic partners and argued that Question 6 redefines marriage instead of protecting it.

In an interview on the sidewalk outside the event, LeGath said it was important to remember that the stance against same-sex marriage doesn't come from a place of hate.

"Everybody has a gay family member or friend. We love these people," LeGath said. "But why do we have to redefine marriage?"

The Archbishop laid out the foundation of the Bible's view on marriage while other speakers explained how the ballot language is misleading, said John O'Dower of St. Mark Church.

"It was about the truth behind the vote," O'Dower said. "You're taking away business. You're taking away individual rights. It's a whole erosion of things."

But Marylanders for Marriage Equality spokesman Kevin Nix said the wording on Question 6 is clear and straightforward. The referendum calls for civil marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples while still protecting religious freedom.

"The truth of the matter is that Question 6 has some of the strongest religious protections in the country," Nix said. "Just as the Catholic Church can refuse to marry a Protestant or Jewish couple, the ballot wording makes it clear clergy can refuse to marry a gay couple, too. Religious freedom is protected. That's why so many clergy and people of faith are voting for Question 6."

In a Gonzales Research & Marketing poll released this week, 51 percent of voters said they will vote for Question 6 and same-sex marriage, while 43 percent said they will vote against it.

Anthony Bosnick of St. John Neumann Parish in Montgomery County said the event's speakers highlighted the importance of showing up at the ballot box in November, no matter which side the polls say is ahead.

"We have to wake up, get up and get out to vote," Bosnick said.

David J Iacono September 30, 2012 at 01:44 PM
It seems the Catholic Church should be more focused on addressing pedophile clergy within their ranks. They may also want to clean up the corruption in the Vatican especially the money laundering bank. The Catholic Church has always been an institution of intolerance and it seems nothing will change except their declining membership.
Linguist September 30, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I am a person of faith. My partner of many years and I were married, by a rabbi, in a mainstream Temple, before God and our families. It was wonderful. It gave social and religious standing to what was already, for many years, the most important aspect of our shared lives. As the rabbi himself noted, he’d married many couples before, but never one that already felt as married as we clearly were. People are free not to believe in God the way we do, of course. And their religions may carry out different rites, and may set their own conditions for those rites. That's about faith, though, and I think we have to respectfully acknowledge that we may all never agree, nor do we have to. Now we are looking to protect our most important relationship legally, civilly, so that we are not legal strangers to one another. We share a house, a car, a mortgage, bills, decisions about what to have for dinner and decisions about life and death. Heterosexual couples get to protect their most important relationship with a single marriage contract. We need to protect ours as well.
David from VoxPop October 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I do hope intelligent people of all faiths will be able to see through the Catholic church's obfuscation and deliberate scare tactics on this issue. No one--NO ONE--is demanding that churches marry queer people, therefore the idea that somehow this is a threat to religious freedom is completely stupid. Pure and simple, the marriage equality law in Maryland offers the same rights and responsibilities--from the STATE--to same sex couples as it does to opposite sex couples. If the Catholic church, or any other church, doesn't want to marry queer people, then they don't have to (that was actually written into the law). I fail to see how this is an attack on anyone's religion, any more than the good bishop's intolerance is a threat to mine. One FOR Question 6: a human being's right to happiness should not be a matter of popular vote.


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