The National Catholic Reporter has profiled “12 Catholic women under 40 making a difference.” Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur, an openly lesbian woman, has made the list. Here’s what the article had to say about her:
“Even at a young age, Heather Mizeur knew that she wanted to serve others. She now serves as a delegate representing the 20th legislative district in the Maryland General Assembly, a position she’s held since 2007.
“She has a passion for service, connected to her love for Christ and the social justice teachings of the church. As a teenager, she was respected by elders and given leadership roles as a eucharistic minister and lector, chair of the Altar and Rosary Society, and member of the parish council. She keeps a commitment to the Catholic beliefs of love, peace and social justice.
“As a delegate, she has helped extend health coverage to thousands of low-income women and children, amputees and young adults. She has been a leading proponent to repeal Maryland’s death penalty and improve transitions for the incarcerated. Mizeur, herself a lesbian, was a leader in the debate over same-sex marriage in Maryland. In March, the bill to legalize same-sex marriage passed. For four years Mizeur was the domestic policy director for Sen. John Kerry, during which time she was the principal architect of his 2004 presidential campaign’s health care reform agenda.
“Media such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Nation and NPR have profiled her work.
“ ‘Build a church with open doors, not folded arms,’ she says. ‘A church as enlightened as its Creator. A church whose greatest commandment is to love thy neighbor as thyself.’ ”
We at New Ways Ministry have enjoyed Heather’s friendship for many years. When Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States, she and her wife Deborah spoke at New Ways Ministry’s press conference “If I Had Five Minutes with the Pope,” at the National Press Club. She was also the keynote speaker at a conference day on marriage equality which New Ways Ministry sponsored when we released our book Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach.
Delegate Mizeur was featured on this blog back in February when she debated Maryland’s marriage equality bill with another Catholic delegate. You can view the debate here.
Congratulations to Heather Mizeur! Her faith-filled advocacy on so many social justice issues is bettering our world. Her deep love of the faith and her willingness to speak so honestly about it is bettering our church.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry