Thursday, November 10, 2011

Catholic Bishops Enter Maryland Marriage Equality Fight // Unitarian Religious Rights Trampled

The Baltimore Sun today reports that the Catholic Church is aggressively stepping into the Maryland marriage equality debate. It is worth noting that Maryland Juice is an uncompromising supporter of full marriage equality (as a civil rights issue -- gasp -- I said it!), and that I was raised in a Catholic household (baptised and confirmed). But I am not so unusual. A poll earlier this year noted:
It’s a popular stereotype that Catholics are more conservative than their Protestant counterparts, but a new report reveals that Catholics are more supportive of gay and lesbian rights than the general population and other Christians.
Given this obvious and growing divide between some Catholics and church doctrine, I was dismayed to see this news report:
With legislation to legalize same-sex marriage expected in the General Assembly, Maryland's Roman Catholic bishops are calling on parishioners to act against the proposal and other measures that they say threaten "religious liberty." 
In a 16-page statement sent to parishes throughout the state, the bishops say a same-sex marriage law would lead to violations of First Amendment rights.... 
In their statement, the bishops acknowledged that no legislation has been proposed that would force a priest to marry a same-sex couple....
I've always found religious arguments against marriage equality to be specious and full of inconsistencies. Here's why. Whose religious beliefs are being subverted? The Catholic Church above admits that Maryland marriage equality would change nothing about their operations. In the meantime, Unitarians adopted a pro-marriage equality position in 1996. So for 15 years, the government of Maryland has prevented that church from granting legal marriages to same-sex couples -- even though that is within their church doctrine:
Because Unitarian Universalists affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person; and

Because marriage is held in honor among the blessings of life....

THEREFORE be it resolved that the 1996 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association adopts a position in support of legal recognition for marriage between members of the same sex
Whose religious rights are being violated?

P.S. Marriage equality advocates at Equality Maryland have announced the selection of a new Executive Director. See this note from a press release today:

Carrie Evans, the new Executive Director, returns to Equality Maryland after serving as the organization's Director of Policy and Planning from 2007-2009. Evans, an attorney, currently serves as a policy analyst for the Baltimore's Housing Department and as adjunct faculty for the Gender and Women's Studies department at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Evans has previously worked as the state legislative director at the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Reflecting on the news of an Evans appointment, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley stated, "I look forward to working with Carrie, Equality Maryland, and the broad coalition of committed groups and individuals as we work to pass marriage equality in the upcoming legislative session."


  1. All of the Catholics that I know are pro-equality. I hope that they will find the fortitude to stick with what they know is right and not allow themselves to be bullied by church hierarchy into perpetuating legal discrimination.

    UU's have been working for equality for 50 years or more, and officially on the Association level (i.e. denominationally) since the 90s, as you mention. We will continue the struggle for justice and equality for all.

  2. Those who throw stones shouldn't live in broken glass houses