Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is actively campaigning for voter approval of a marriage equality law he signed earlier this year, said Monday night that his support for equality under the law is “very much informed” by his Catholic faith and his commitment to protecting the human dignity of every person in Maryland. Needless to say, the church hierarchy has a different take. The Baltimore Sun reports today that Baltimore Archbishop William Lori will co-host an anti-equality event on Wednesday night; his co-host is Derek McCoy, the Harry Jackson-affiliated head of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, which is leading opposition to marriage equality.
Speaking to bloggers on a call organized by Marylanders for Marriage Equality, O’Malley said he was confident that the campaign would be victorious if it is able to raise $2 million to get out the word and respond to ads from anti-equality forces that are expected to increase in volume and intensity between now and the election. Maryland is one of four states with marriage on the ballot this year in one form or another ballot measure and is widely considered to have a good chance at winning, given the state’s Democratic leanings and promising polling numbers.
O’Malley said that expansive religious freedom language in the law was important to its passage and in keeping with the traditions of the state of Maryland. The referendum language makes clear that the law protects clergy from having to perform any ceremony that violates their beliefs, guarantees each faith control over its marriage doctrine, and “provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.” Josh Levin, who directs the pro-equality campaign, said it is working with several hundred clergy, and said a volunteer group of equality-supporting Catholics is doing weekly phone-banks.
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