Amendment to Same-sex Marriage Bill Changes Nothing – Delegates Urged to Not Waver

Statement by Mary Ellen Russell, Executive Director

Today was a long day of unrelenting pressure from the Governor and House leadership to try to convince delegates to change their position on the bill to redefine marriage. At the end of the day, the House held a brief session to amend the effective date of the bill until January 2013. The amendment was offered by one of two Republicans who, despite campaign promises to the contrary, have committed to voting for the bill.

The amendment changes nothing, and should provide no excuse to vote for the bill. The issue that remains before the House of Delegates is whether to pass legislation that would drastically redefine marriage in our state. A vote for this bill is a vote that goes against the conscience of the thousands of Marylanders who continue to urge their lawmakers to uphold the time honored recognition of marriage between one man and one woman. Any legislator who claims to be opposed to the redefinition of marriage cannot, and should not, support this bill.

In offering the amendment, the sponsor claimed that a change in the bill’s effective date would help clear the way for the bill to go to a vote of the people. If that were the real intent of this amendment, then the legislature should pass legislation to directly send the issue to the voters through a constitutional amendment. We believe, however, that it is the responsibility of our lawmakers to take a stand on the issue itself, and not to simply pass that responsibility on to the voters of Maryland.

Maryland Catholic Conference advocates for the Church's public policy positions before the Maryland General Assembly and other civil officials. The Conference represents all three dioceses with territory in the state – the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.