Members of Equally Blessed, a Catholic Coalition seeking justice for LGBT people in our church and in society, sent the following letter to members of the Maryland House of Delegates on February 16, 2012.
As Catholics, we value our faith tradition that calls us to speak on behalf of the marginalized and create a church and a society in which all God’s children are welcomed. We are called to live together, ever keeping before us the charge to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God, as called for in Micah 6:8.
We recognize that you, as a delegate, also feel the responsibility to care for the citizens of Maryland and ensure their fair treatment under law so as to create a society in which all citizens may have the same opportunities to flourish.
As Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic organizations working for fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, we appreciate and value your leadership and patience exemplified in the recent Joint Hearing on the Civil Marriage Protection Act, House Bill 438.
We affirm our support for the Civil Marriage Protection Act since it is our understanding that civil marriage is a state matter, while religious marriage is a matter for the Church. The First Amendment as clarified by the religious exemption does not require any clergy or congregation to perform a marriage they object to for any reason.
As a coalition with members who live in Maryland, we also know that the majority of Catholics in Maryland and across the country support fair treatment under the law for same-gender couples. We hope that when you vote on Friday, you will, too.
Thank you for your service to the people of Maryland. If you would like to hear more from pro-marriage equality Catholics, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to speak with you or your staff.
In the Spirit of Peace,
The Equally Blessed Coalition
Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA
Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director, Call To Action
Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata, Co-Founders and Directors, Fortunate Families
Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry