Maryland leaders pledge to put same-sex marriage issue on fall ballot
Published: February 24, 2012
BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The Maryland Catholic Conference's executive director, vowing to work with others to bring the measure to a referendum, said the people of the state "will be outraged" at how quickly the bill to legalize same-sex marriage made it through the Legislature to final passage. The state Senate approved it 25-22 the evening of Feb. 23 after deliberating just 48 hours. The House of Delegates had already approved the bill Feb. 17, and Gov. Martin J. O'Malley, the bill's sponsor, has pledged to sign it quickly into law. "I expect that the people of Maryland will be outraged at the manner in which this legislation has been rammed through the Legislature, and they will be all the more inspired to do everything necessary to ensure the opportunity to vote in support of traditional marriage," said Mary Ellen Russell of the Catholic conference. The conference is the public policy arm of the bishops serving Maryland Catholics from the Washington and Baltimore archdioceses and the Diocese of Wilmington, Del. Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien, apostolic administrator of the Baltimore Archdiocese, said that "by daring to redefine this sacred union between one man and one woman," Maryland's politicians "unconscionably have chosen political expediency over the good of society -- the fundamental charge of their office." Calling it "radical legislation, he said the lawmakers' action "poses a grave threat to the future stability of the nuclear family and the society it anchors." The Archdiocese of Washington said the measure was "regrettably" passed through "expedited hearings" and despite the fact that "Catholics and individuals across Maryland encouraged the lawmakers to protect the long-standing and proper definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman."
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