25-January-2012 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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Maryland governor renews push for same-sex marriage

Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Catholic, has renewed his efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland. Same-sex marriage legislation passed in the state senate last year but failed in the state house.

"More and more Marylanders ... recognize that redefining marriage is not a question of civil rights," said Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference. "Our state's marriage statute is not an arbitrary recognition of one relationship among many possibilities. This recognition--bestowed on marriage by societies throughout human history--originates in a simple biological fact. The union of one man and one woman is the only human relationship capable of creating children and nurturing them together as father and mother."

"The bill's limited exemptions for religious organizations remain ambiguous and by no means cover the host of circumstances that would create a conflict between the government and faith institutions if marriage is redefined," Russell added. "Moreover, the exemptions do nothing to address religious liberties for the average citizen."

Last year Baltimore's Archbishop Edwin O'Brien warned Governor O'Malley about his support for same-sex marriage, urging him to drop a cause "that so deeply conflicts with your faith, not to mention the best interests of our society." In a reply to the archbishop, the governor said that he has "a public obligation to try to change that injustice."

(Archbishop O'Brien has subsequently resigned as head of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, to become grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. He remains acting administrator of the archdiocese. He will be raised to the College of Cardinals at the February consistory.)

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