The heavy involvement of the Catholic Church in Maineâ€™s marriage equality struggle brought criticism and questions about the Catholic clergy crossing the line between church and state. The church there created a PAC to funnel money--more than half a million dollars--to the anti-gay Stand for Marriage Maine; voters in Maine narrowly approved a measure that rescinded marriage rights for gay and lesbian families there, in a ballot-box rights drama that echoed the repeal a year ago of marriage rights for gay and lesbian Californians.
Calls for the church to lose its tax-exempt status for its role in the vote have been voiced, but are not expected to lead to action. Meantime, GLBT equality advocates note that gay and lesbian people of faith experienced alienation at their own churches when fund-raising efforts were carried out to benefit the anti-marriage campaign. Dignity USAâ€™s executive director, Marianne Duddy-Burke, told EDGE, "Obviously, it is distressing, disturbing and very painful to see the leadership of our church using funds that should be used for ministry into institutionalizing state-sponsored discrimination."
Earlier this month, the archdiocese of Washington, D.C. issued a threat to pull its support for services to the cityâ€™s poor and homeless if a measure approving marriage equality in the District were to pass, creating a separate buzz of bad press. However, undeterred by the controversy spurred by its actions in Maine and Washington, D.C., the church has instructed New Jersey priests to read an anti-equality letter aloud to their parishes, or else to distribute copies of the letter to their congregants.
The letter states that "marriage faces challenges from a society more focused on individual satisfaction than on the Gospel," and includes a request that parishioners pray that state lawmakers will not extend marriage equality to New Jerseyâ€™s gay and lesbian families, a Nov. 28 Newark Star-Ledger article reported, noting that the stateâ€™s Catholic priests received the order from New Jersey bishops.
With the defeat of Gov. John Corzine, who is pro-equality, and the election of Chris Christie, who has said that he will veto any marriage equality bill that reaches his desk, pro-family parity lawmakers have only a swiftly closing window to pass a bill and get it to Corzine for signing. But as the stateâ€™s lawmakers have gathered for a lame duck session that will constitute the last chance for such a bill to go to Corzineâ€™s office, some lawmakers have expressed reluctance to take on the measure.
Read full article at Edge Boston