Three Catholic Leaders Offer Responses to Maryland’s Marriage Equality Law

March 3, 2012

WJZ-TV, Baltimore, reported yesterday on Catholic response to Maryland enacting a marriage equality law.  The report’s headline, “Catholic Church Strongly Opposed To Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage In Md.,” is not quite accurate as the report itself demonstrates. Three Catholics are interviewed in the report:  Cardinal Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore, Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, and Governor Martin O’Malley.  Only Cardinal O’Brien expresses opposition, while the other two express support.

The term “Catholic Church in the headline should more accurately be rendered “Catholic Hierarch” or “Catholic Cardinal,” because the “Catholic Church” is more properly defined as the entire People of God, not just the hierarchy.  And as readers of this blog will know from many previous posts, the majority of Catholic lay people in the church are supportive of marriage equality for lesbian and gay people.You can read the enitre news report and watch a video of the interviews with these three people by clicking here.

Cardinal O’Brien responded to the new law:

““The fact that people of faith were just over-run on this whole thing so quickly is what really concerns me. . . .My basic concern is that faith and religion is being seen more and more as a permissible but private eccentricity,”

Francis DeBernardo observed that

“We are basically speaking about human beings, and about their inherent dignity and about the fact that their rights and families have to be protected,. . Laypeople and theologians see the issue as one of social justice and the bishops view it as one of sexuality,”

 

Governor O’Malley offered:

“My faith teaches me that human dignity is an important thing and that each of us is a gift from God, . . .And that’s the faith that I follow.”

HuffingtonPost.com carries the full text of O’Malley’s statement reflecting on why he supported the marriage equality law.  He begins his statement by telling the touching story of one little boy:

“During the debate in Maryland’s House, I joined same-sex marriage supporters outside of the chambers who were anxiously awaiting the vote. I met two moms and their 4-year-old son Will. After standing for hours, Will was tired and seemed a bit uninterested. I could only imagine how hard it would be to understand the complex discussions as a 4-year-old.

 

“But the next day I saw a photo of Will and his family taken right after the House voted in support of marriage equality. His little face was lit up with joy, and he was cheering as his moms hugged him with the love that only a mother can provide. Will may not have understood the debates, but his smile after the vote proved one very important thing: even a 4-year-old knows the value of human dignity.”

As observed in yesterday’s blog post, O’Malley’s reflections on the law have strongly echoed Catholic social teaching.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Way Ministry

 


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