Monday, October 29, 2012

A scandal that brings shame to the Baltimore Archdiocese: dividing Catholic from Catholic

A brief reflection, prompted by the appearance in the on-line Catholic Review of an announcement of the opinion of a prominent Catholic athlete - he opposes the expansion of civil marriage to gay and lesbian Catholics.

A century ago many bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in the US were united on the subject of civil rights for Catholics. The bishops were especially sensitive about the mistreatment of Italian and Irish Catholics, who suffered discrimination in many areas of public and community life in America.
Today, the hierarchy of the church is of a different mind. Today, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is campaigning actively in the Civil realm, to deprive many Catholics of Civil Rights enjoyed by others Catholics.
Today, to its greater shame, the hierarchy is even willing to encourage individual lay Catholics to denounce the efforts of other Catholics to seek the protection of the civil law for their children and for themselves.
Today, Maryland Catholics are treated to the spectacle of a prominent athlete, a Roman Catholic, given visibility in an official, Catholic media outlet, so that he might give his personal opinion; which is that gay and lesbian Catholics be denied the right to go to the courthouse and get a marriage license - a right which the prominent athlete enjoys but which is to be denied to other Catholics in Maryland.
America, for 150 years, has progressively expanded civil rights. America does not contract such rights; on the contrary, broader participation in public life is a powerful trend in our civil society. The expansion of civil liberties, the inclusion of more and more citizens in the circle of civic participation often is not easy. Civil rights campaigns are well described as civil rights struggles. Such struggles have cost people their liberty and their lives.
In truth, and in the interest of justice, there can be only one side for the Roman Catholic Church in the struggle for civil rights in America. The church simply must be on the side of justice. The church - to be true to its own justice traditions - simply must be on the side of the expansion of civil liberties. The church must not become an advocate in a campaign to deny civil liberties to Catholic and other citizens of the United States. Tragically, this has already occurred.
A campaign to deny civil rights inherently involves demagoguery, appeals to fear, encouragement of division and hatred. We see all of this today in Maryland, as the opponents of civil rights for gay and lesbian Marylanders exploit these themes.
Sadly, to it's shame, the current leadership of the Archdiocese of Baltimore is campaigning actively with the demagogues, the dividers, the haters. Scandalously, the leadership is coldly, cruelly and with calculation setting Catholic against Catholic.
We leave to future developments, the answer to the as yet unanswered question: why?

Fr Dick Lawrence: marriage entails the mutual support and common life of spouses

I join Dick Ullrich, who has send an e-mail as follows:


Father Dick Lawrence, Pastor of St Vincent de Paul, Baltimore, preach on Marriage Equality.

Click on Link, Left Side Bar for Quick Links, Select Homilies, and then Select Oct 28. 

Please share this message with others especially Catholics.


Here is a direct link to the

At the website, this homily is summarized:

"The pastor again reads a letter from Archbishop Lori urging Catholics to vote again Question 6 – the Marriage Act citing the primacy of procreating and educating children as the prime purpose of Marriage. The pastor takes a different approach citing the equally compelling reason for marriage (since Vatican II) as the mutual support and common life of the spouses. Two approaches, two different scriptural bases. The pastor urges all to vote – and to vote their conscience."
For a fine summary of Father Lawrence's homily, see:

Baltimore Catholic Pastor Preaches in Support of Marriage Equality and Conscience

The National Catholic Reporter also reported Pastor Lawrence's homily: Baltimore pastor speaks his mind in homily on same-sex marriage

Monday, October 22, 2012

Debunking the Anti-Marriage Ads

Walter Olson's blog:

Maryland for All Families:

Anti-6 theme: “Children do best when raised by their married mom and dad”

"The first TV ad by the No on 6 campaign pushes the “maybe it’s bad for the kids” theme that has worked well for marriage opponents in earlier campaigns. No matter that it’s based on an absurd non sequitur, since Maryland is not somehow voting on whether or not gays should have or raise kids (they’re doing that already), but on whether gay households with or without kids should be able to form legally recognized commitments, advancing the security and stability of those families."
"At any rate, Annie Linskey at the Baltimore Sun has an excellent article examining the basis of the claims.
"The methodology and findings of the Regnerus study have been extensively criticized from many quarters; [Walter Olson's] contribution to this literature appeared in the Huffington Post."
 John Corvino, has made a valuable contribution in his series of videos on same-sex marriage, entitled:
Debunking the Regnerus Study - John Corvino - YouTube

For Details on Romney's 5 trillion dollar tax plan - a simple "click" here

At Long Last . . . the details are out . . . 


That's all there is to it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Government deals with marriage as a civil status . . . "

Opponents of the civil rights of gay Marylanders often argue from Scripture that marriage is about one man and one woman. So says the Knights of Columbus through a spokesman: "We are one with the church on the subject of preserving traditional man-and-woman marriage."

Marriage is man-and-woman marriage. And that's it.

But that is not it. Not everyone in Maryland reads Scripture. 

Not everyone in Maryland reads Scripture in just the same way.

In the United States we do not call in the prosecutor to enforce religious beliefs.

Judge Dennis Jacobs, a conservative federal circuit judge, yesterday (Oct 18 2012) made this clear

Civil rights in the United States are not regulated by any one religion. 

Judge Jacobs issued a decision in the three judge decision in the Windsor case stated:

". . . law (federal or state) is not concerned with holy matrimony. Government deals with marriage as a civil status . . . A state may enforce and dissolve a couple’s marriage, but it cannot sanctify or bless it. For that, the pair must go next door [to the Church]."

In Maryland, this year, civil marriage equality is on the ballot. 

The question we are asked to decide on Nov. 6 is whether all the citizens of Maryland enjoy the same civil right to marry the one you love.

In our society, there can be only one fair answer to this question: 

Everyone who believes in equal protection under law should vote FOR Question Six on November 6.


Judge Jacobs strikes down DOMA section 3 | Maryland for All Families

DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional by Federal Appeals Court

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that gay Americans are a class of people who deserve the same kinds of constitutional protections as many other victims of discrimination. - NY Times

Thursday, October 18, 2012

BREAKING: DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional by Federal Appeals Court

This court decision shows why Question Six in Maryland should get a vote FOR from the electorate: 

Same-Sex marriages are 
constitutionally protected
just like other marriages

In a 2-1 decision announced today, Oct 18, 2012:

a Second federal circuit court has struck down part of DOMA - the Defense of Marriage Act (passed in 1996), which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals found Section 3 of DOMA is a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

The ruling came in Windsor v. USA, a case brought by a now 83-year-old lesbian widow Edith Windsor.

The court ruled that "heightened scrutiny" must be applied in the case, stating:

"In this case, all four factors justify heightened scrutiny: A) homosexuals as a group have historically endured persecution and discrimination; B) homosexuality has no relation to aptitude or ability to contribute to society; C) homosexuals are a discernible group with non-obvious distinguishing characteristics, especially in the subset of those who enter same-sex marriages; and D) the class remains a politically weakened minority."

Windsor's case was decided by the 2nd Circuit Appeals Court after a federal district judge sided with Windsor in June, 2012, ruling that the government must refund the more than $363,000 in taxes paid by Windsor following the death of her wife, Thea Spyer. 

Windsor sued to recoup about $363,000, federal estate tax she was forced to pay on her inheritance from Spyer. 

The federal government does not tax inheritances that pass from one spouse to the other, but because of DOMA the federal government has refused to recognize Windsor and Spyer's marriage.

In a statement made after the decision was announced, Edith Windsor said:

"I know Thea would have been so proud to see how far we have come in our fight to be treated with dignity."

DOMA is not dead yet:

Four DOMA challenges, including Windsor, have been petitioned for review by the Supreme Court. 

The Windsor ruling was written by Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs, who was appointed by President George H. W. Bush. The losing party was the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), created by House Republicans to defend DOMA in court.

Source - which also has a link to the Windsor decision itself:

BREAKING: Federal Appeals Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional in Windsor Case - Poliglot

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Proud Parent of Triplets, a Stepchild, a Newborn Son

Here's a letter from the 10/15/12 Baltimore Sun, that is worth a second or third read:

"I am a parent to triplet 7th graders, a stepchild, and a newborn son. I am also a lesbian. 

"This week, two organizations in which my children participate, the Columbia Clippers Swim Team (run by the Columbia Aquatics Association) and the Lime Kiln Middle School PTA, held fundraisers in partnership with Chick-fil-A. 

"Chick-fil-A has recently been the butt of a media firestorm for its more than $5 million in contributions to anti-gay groups, including one group that is on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of certified hate groups. Collectively, the groups supported by Chick-fil-A work to dehumanize LGBT people, among other things, labeling them as pedophiles and advocating for their imprisonment.

"Why would either of these organizations partner with Chick-fil-A in the face of this well-documented history? I wrote both organizations, and both promptly dismissed my concern as a 'feeling' and a call to 'political activity.' 

"My concern stems not from feelings or politics, but from facts: our children, some of them, have same-sex parents, but more than that, some of them are LGBT. 

"What message do we send to these children when we are so apathetic about our choices that we can't see our way to choose from the abundant offerings of fundraising sites that are supportive of all people and all families? 

"Would the partnership look different if Chick-fil-A donated to the KKK instead? 

"The actions of both of these groups fly in the face of their own policies of inclusion. And the act of fundraising at such a site is, indeed, a political statement. It's just not a statement I thought either group would make."

Heather R. McCabe, Fulton

The writer is past president of the Maryland LGBT Bar Association.

Source: Anti-gay fundraising sets poor example, Baltimore Sun, October 15 2012

"I Have Two Fathers"

The best answer to those who campaign against the Civil Rights of gay people is reality:

Friday, October 12, 2012

HRC - Additional $1 Million to State Marriage Ballot Campaigns

Paul Guequierre | | 202-423-2860

HRC Commits Additional $1 Million to State Marriage Ballot Measures

HRC Four State Total now at $4.4 million

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, furthered its commitment to marriage equality, announcing an additional $1 million in the four states facing marriage-related ballot measures in November – Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. Today’s announced investments bring HRC’s contributions to the four ballot measures to $4.4 million and $7.3 million overall during this election cycle.

“There’s no doubt that 2012 is the year of marriage equality. When you have momentum on your side, you don’t slow down, you double down, and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Our movement is about loving and committed families who deserve nothing less than full equality under the law. HRC is proud of our many volunteers and donors who have raised and donated additional resources to fuel this fight.”

In Maine, voters will be asked for the first time in the country to affirmatively pass marriage for gays and lesbians at the ballot box. Voters in Maryland and Washington are being asked to affirm legislatively passed marriage equality laws. In Minnesota, voters will consider a constitutional amendment to ban gay and lesbian couples from marriage. Throughout the campaigns HRC has provided financial contributions as well as in-kind contributions of staff and research to support the state efforts.

“Our adversaries have bragged that marriage equality has never won at the ballot box. This November, we will take that talking point away once and for all,” added Griffin. “In 2012, fair-minded Americans – and particularly residents of Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington – will support their LGBT friends, family members, and coworkers.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

# # #

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"if two people are in love they should have the right to marry in Maryland."

"Like everyone I know, I am planning to vote this November for Question 6 to legalize same-sex marriages in Maryland. The law will rectify an unfair situation which, if it were not so ugly in its discrimination, would almost be humorous.

"It was all right for Mickey Rooney or Elizabeth Taylor to get married as many times as they wanted, but two males or two females don't have that right.

"Anyone who votes against marriage equality probably is unaware of the institution's history. Men once took wives who virtually had no rights in a patriarchal society. And people of different races were forbidden to marry.

"I believe in love, and if two people are in love they should have the right to marry in Maryland.
Follow @BaltSunLetters for the latest reader letters to The Sun.

"So as a vegetarian and environmentalist, I was astonished by the lack of logic in a recent commentary opposing same-sex unions ("Protecting marriage isn't about hate," Oct. 2). The writer, a self-described "vegetarian" who lives "in a solar house," tries to argue that opposition to marriage equality isn't rooted in bias.

"His argument really gets into the weeds with the false analogy between a vegetarian who eats meat and a person who marries a partner of the same sex. Marriage equality doesn't redefine marriage, it simply ends an unlawful discrimination. Similarly, a person who gets a divorce or doesn't marry has no effect on anyone else's marriage.

"There are no legitimate arguments against marriage equality. Discrimination has long been part of this country's core, and good people have always come together to end discrimination in all its many forms. The fight for marriage equality is just the latest example of that.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

Source: Baltimore Sun, Oct 5, 2012

"Gays and lesbians . . . fulfilling the call to live genuine Christian lives"

"In response to Archbishop William E. Lori, Catholics like myself who support passage of Question 6 to legalize same-sex marriages in Maryland by no means disagree with the Book of Genesis and Jesus' words in the Gospel of Mark, which were read last Sunday in support of the Church's position that marriage is between a man and a woman ("Same-sex marriage foes argue case from the pulpit," Oct. 8). We simply believe application of this sacred truth must be expanded. 
"As the Church itself acknowledges the existence of gays and lesbians and has thereby freed them of the burden of sin, so too the time has come to acknowledge that gays and lesbians can find partners with whom they can live a sacred life of love, and raise children together with love and compassion, fulfilling the call to live genuine Christian lives.
"Question 6 does not state that the Church must marry gay and lesbian couples; therefore, there is no need for it to take such a vociferous stance against its passage."
Jeff Konyar, Linthicum

Source: Baltimore Sun Oct 11 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vote YES on Question 4 - DREAM Act about fairness - Maryland's Catholic Bishops

“Fairness” is at the heart of Maryland bishops' support for the Maryland DREAM Act.

Said Archbishop Lori:

“We consider it (the DREAM Act) a matter of affirming the dignity of these young people, who are here through no fault of their own,” Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori told the Catholic Review. “Educating these young people and making them productive citizens of our country is something good – a source of strength for our country.”

According to a recent article in the Catholic Review, by Maria Wiering, 

"A recent poll found that 60 percent of likely Maryland voters support the DREAM Act, with 26 percent opposed and 14 percent undecided, according to Educating Maryland Kids, a coalition working to protect the law."
"Under the DREAM Act, students must meet clear criteria to be eligible for the in-state tuition rate: they must attend a Maryland high school for three years and graduate, earn college acceptance, attend a community college for two years before transferring to a four-year institution, and promise to pursue citizenship when eligible."
"The Maryland DREAM Act is not the same as the DREAM Act first introduced in Congress in 2001, although they share a name – an acronym for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors."
"Unlike the federal legislation, which includes avenues for establishing permanent residency for undocumented students, the Maryland DREAM Act only affects the price an eligible undocumented student pays for higher education in Maryland."

For more about this important ballot issue, come to an ecumenical presentation on the DREAM Act:

Morgan State University

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Letter from Maine

Lector and C4ME Board Member, Kathy Tosney

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is the 30th in Ordinary Time – the plain-living-days minus the seasonal anticipation of Christmas or celebratory energy of Easter. These are days of reality: interacting with real people struggling to “do what’s right” for our families, friends, local communities and larger world.

This week, into this ordinary time, four U.S. bishops inserted extraordinary political demands. All abrogate Vatican II assurances of the primacy of individual conscience over Church dogma, particularly in matters of civil law and liberty.

400,000 Minnesota Catholic households received a letter from their bishops asking for donations to Minnesota for Marriage. It is a secular, political organization seeking a state constitutional amendment that would forever ban same-sex marriage.

San Francisco’s Archbishop-designate degreed that, “gay men and lesbians who are in a sexual relationship of any kind should not receive communion.” In New Jersey, the Archbishop of Newark’s “Pastoral Letter,” said that supporters of marriage for same-sex couples who “continue to receive Holy Communion while so dissenting [from his view on marriage] would be objectively dishonest” and should refrain from the sacrament.

Lectors in Maine received the Bishop’s mandate that the Prayers of the Faithful in every Mass until the November 6th election close with the priest praying:

Lord God and Creator,In the beginning you made man and woman so that they might enter a communion of life and love.We commend to your mercy the citizens of this State that we may be blessed in the knowledge and observance of your holy law.We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Also in Maine this week, another delivery of Catholics for Marriage Equality/God is Love buttons arrived. That’s 7,000 buttons distributed since our 2009 founding! C4ME’s ministry supports those who are harmed by the hierarchy’s politics and encourages Catholics to heed their hearts and vote their consciences for marriage for same-sex couples. Let us recommit ourselves to praying together and acting together over the next forty days to bring justice to our gay and lesbian family and friends and sanity to our church.

Thank you for your part in this healing work of advocacy,

Anne Underwood

Preach the Truth as if you had a million voices. It is silence that kills the world. St. Catherine of Siena

SOURCE: Anne Underwood, a mentor and friend, works with Catholics for Marriage Equality Maine