Governor’s Decision to Sponsor Same-sex Marriage Bill is Regrettable

Statement by Maryland Catholic Conference Executive Director Mary Ellen Russell

The Maryland Catholic Conference opposes the redefinition of marriage based on the clear understanding that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the definition of marriage. Therefore it is with great disappointment that we learn of Governor Martin O’Malley’s decision to include same-sex marriage in his administrative package of bills that he will sponsor during the 2012 General Assembly.

In a letter to the Governor, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, chairman of the Maryland Catholic Conference, joined many others in our state in urging the Governor not to take this step, which we believe so clearly conflicts with the best interests of our society. We continue to urge members of the Maryland General Assembly not to allow this issue to be driven by partisan politics, and to give full and fair consideration to the legitimate reasons why our state should maintain its recognition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The moral and social impacts of redefining marriage would be pervasive and severe. Stripping marriage of its unique connection to parenthood disregards the reasons why government has always elevated marriage over all other relationships as the fundamental building block of society.

Treating heterosexual and same-sex relationships differently is not unjust discrimination. Upholding the truth of marriage furthers the rights and equal dignity of all human persons by promoting a social fabric where children can benefit from the unique gifts of a mother and a father.

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