Catholic vs. Catholic on Marriage Equality in Maryland
MarylandReporter.com has a unique video clip on their website today: two Maryland Catholic legislators, one Democrat and one Republican, debate the upcoming marriage equality bill, moderated by the Reporter’s Len Lazarick.
Delegate Heather Mizeur and Delegate Cathy Vitale have a very civil disagreement in which many issues are explained, not least of which are issues concerning their common Catholic faith. Watch the video for yourself, and then you can read our comments below, and add your own in the “Comments” section for this post.
I think it will be no surprise to Bondings 2.0 readers to hear that we think Delegate Mizeur won the debate. She won it not only because she had the better legal and political arguments, but because of the personal and genuine way she spoke so eloquently about her faith.
A Catholic lesbian woman, Mizeur tells of her adolescent struggles with sexuality and religion, and with coming to the realization that she, like everyone else, is “a child of God” and is equally loved by God. She praises the church’s social justice teachings, which she states are the “core mission of the church,” and she praises the church’s teaching on the primacy of conscience.
In the area of law and politics, Mizeur acknowledges that any concerns about religious exemptions that the Maryland Catholic Conference may have are open to discussion and debate so that religious organizations can feel comfortable with the new law. She rightly points out that it is “disingenuous” of the Catholic conference to be so concerned about legal problems with same-sex marriage while it turns a blind eye to heterosexual marriages that do not meet the hierarchy’s ideals, and to a myriad of problems that the institution of heterosexual marriage has.
Thank you, Delegate Heather Mizeur, for speaking so forthrightly about marriage equality from a Catholic perspective.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
UPDATE: Here’s what “The Washington Post’s” January 28, 2012 editorial entitled “Same-sex marriage in Maryland” had to say about the Maryland Catholic Conference’s argument:
“The Maryland Catholic Conference got off on the wrong foot last week by criticizing Mr. O’Malley’s efforts as a distraction from more pressing economic needs. What may be a distraction for the conference is a fundamental concern for the state’s gay and lesbian residents. If the conference is dissatisfied with what it calls “ambiguous” religious protections in the bill, it should work with the governor and lawmakers to fashion a solution.”
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
This is an excellent video. Catholic Del. Cathy Vitale is against same-gender marriage because the Church fears it will be forced to comply with the Civil Rights that the State would grant to gay and lesbian couples– even though the wording of the Bill protects the Church’s Canon Law regarding who may be validly married IN THE CHURCH. Del. Vitale’s position would also forbid marriage to the thousands of gay and lesbian Catholics who were Baptized and raised in the Catholic Faith, and now can’t look forward to being married in the Church because, “God says so.” And, if these couples wish to be married, and turn to Civil Marriage for the Rights that provide protection of person and property, Del. Vitale wants to block this possibility by an Amendment to the Constitution stating that marriage can only be recognized as legal when contracted between two people of opposite genders, whether the marriage is performed by a Church Minister or a Justice of the Peace; whether the couple profess a Faith or are atheist.
Question: What should be done to all those gay and lesbian couples, Catholics or not, who value their relationships and families, and want to protect them equally in law?
Del. Heather Mizeur speaks reasonably and reverently for her Faith and her family.
Delegate Cathy Vitale, by her own words, creates a faulty construct for a civil issue. She states “marriage is a religious sacrament.” The proposed Maryland law protects religious institutions — no one is telling the Roman Church who it can or cannot marry. It is a faulty construct to argue against civil marriage based on a “sacramental” belief system. The framers of the Constitution very wisely understood the important of the separation. Let’s pull the covers off the objection — the Roman Church is simply promoting bigotry.