On Thursday, February 23, the Maryland State Senate unfortunately voted 25 to 22 in favor of a bill that would redefine marriage in Maryland. The bill had previously passed through the House by a narrow 72 to 67 margin and now makes its way to Governor O’Malley’s desk. The Governor, who had proposed the bill, is expected to sign it, which would make Maryland the eighth state to redefine marriage to the exclusion of sexual difference.
The Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC) released a statement yesterday lamenting the bill’s passage. They point out that the bill passed by “the narrowest of margins” and “was forced through the House with extraordinary political pressures and legislative maneuvers,” a point highlighted in a February 22 MCC statement following the House vote.
MCC writes in the February 23 statement, “Stripping marriage of its unique connection to parenthood erases from civil law the right of a child to a mother and father, and ignores an essential question of why government favors marriage between one man and one woman over all other relationships” (emphasis added).
The political battle over marriage in Maryland is far from over. Supporters of marriage’s perennial definition have the opportunity to bring the measure to voters with a referendum this November, provided that they can raise at least 55,000 signatures. The Maryland Catholic Conference sees this opportunity in a very positive light: “When this issue reaches the November ballot, we are confident that the citizens of Maryland will join voters in 31 other states in upholding marriage between one man and one woman.”
- Maryland Catholic Conference website on Marriage
- MCC Q&A Handout: “Marriage and Society: Marriage Cannot Be Redefined“
- The Bishops of Maryland 2008 Statement: “Marriage in Maryland: Securing the Foundation of Family and Society“