Maryland's leading Catholic bishops say
they oppose gay marriage because it erodes religious freedom.
In a document titled The
Most Sacred of All Property: Religious Freedom and the People of
Maryland that is being distributed among churches and
state policymakers, the bishops argue that “efforts to alter
society's long-standing definition of marriage … infringe upon the
religious liberties of individuals and institutions that acknowledge
heterosexual marriage not only as a fact of nature but also as an
article of faith.”
Ignoring that gay couples can marry in
10 countries, 6 states and the District of Columbia, the bishops
claim that marriage between one man and one woman has “remained
constant” in recent decades.
“It is based not on a social
prejudice, but rather on the recognition that the union of a man and
woman is the only possible source – and their married relationship
the best possible environment – for the children who will become
society's next generation.”
According to the Maryland Catholic
Conference, the document is being sent to Maryland's nearly 280
Catholic parishes. Leading elected officials will also receive a
copy of the
16-page document, which was signed by Washington Archbishop
Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Baltimore Apostolic Administrator Archbishop
Edwin F. O'Brien and Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly.
Last year's effort to legalize marriage
in Maryland for gay couples ran aground after religious groups
lobbied heavily against its passage.
Governor Martin O'Malley has pledged to
shepherd the bill through this year's legislative session, which
opens in January.