By Catholic Review Staff
By a slim margin, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill Feb. 17 that would legalize same-sex marriage.
The Maryland Catholic Conference issued a statement expressing its disappointment in the process saying, “It is only through extraordinary political pressures and legislative maneuvers by (Governor Martin O’Malley) and party leadership that the House of Delegates has pushed through legislation that will drastically alter society’s foundation for this generation and the generations to come.
“Instead of allowing a vote of conscience and a measured level of debate on an issue of such consequential impact on our state, they have strong-armed a bare majority of votes, and rushed a bill through committee and floor votes while ignoring customary legislative procedures.”
According to the MCC, Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien issued a statement from Rome on the eve of his being made a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.
“Today is a sad day for the State of Maryland and for Maryland families. In one fleeting moment, the House of Delegates moved our state one step closer to undoing what civilizations surely have upheld for thousands of years, one step closer to violating a law deeply embedded in human nature, with tectonic repercussions for the future of family life and the common good of all. Neither the church nor the state has the right to alter the life-giving union created by God for the benefit of all society … this even for an attractive but fleeting goal for profitable political gain.
“At St. Peter’s Basilica tomorrow, I will pray that those in the Senate, please God, will have the wisdom and courage to vote their consciences in the face of tremendous and unprecedented political pressure, maneuvers and strong-arming, and will stand up for Maryland’s families by rejecting this radical and detrimental legislation.”
The MCC said it is now turning its attention to the Maryland Senate, which passed a similar bill last year and is expected to do so again.
“We urge them to reject the argument that government needs to redefine marriage so that same-sex couples can receive benefits,” the MCC said in a press release issued Feb. 17. “We urge them to give reasoned and honest consideration to the inevitable conflicts that passing this bill will create between government and religious communities. We urge them to allow the time that the House leadership denied to ensuring this issue will be treated with the serious and well thought-out examination it deserves.”