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August 8, 2011

O'Brien urged O'Malley against backing gay marriage

In the days before Gov. Martin O’Malley announced his support for same-sex marriage, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien privately urged him against “promoting a goal that so deeply conflicts with your faith.”

“Preserving the central role of the natural family unit has always been — and should continue to be — the reason why our government recognizes marriage as existing between one man and one woman,” the archbishop wrote to the governor in a letter dated July 20.

Two days later, O’Malley said he would introduce legislation next year to allow gay couples to marry.

“As a free and diverse people of many faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles or beliefs, among them ‘equal protection of the law’ for every individual and the ‘free exercise’ of religion without government intervention,” O’Malley said. “Other states have found a way to protect both these rights. So should Maryland.”

A same-sex marriage bill cleared the state Senate this year, but it was pulled from the House floor after vote-counters determined they were a few delegates shy of a majority. With O’Malley’s active support, backers are hopeful of success next year.

O’Malley, who is Catholic, opposed same-sex marriage when he first ran for governor in 2006. He said at the time that he had been “raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

His announcement last month came weeks after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that made New York the sixth state to allow gay couples to marry — and enjoyed a boost in his national profile.

“I am well aware that the recent events in New York have intensified pressure on you to lend your active support to legislation to redefine marriage,” O’Brien wrote, in a letter released Monday by the governor’s office.

“Maryland is not New York,” O’Brien wrote. “We urge you not to allow your role as leader of our state to be used in allowing the debate surrounding the definition of marriage to be determined by mere political expediency.”

O’Malley responded to O’Brien last week. In a letter dated Aug. 4 and released by his office on Monday, he listed the many areas in which they agree, including efforts to eradicate poverty, support for a progressive income tax and opposition to the death penalty.

“But on the public issue of granting equal civil marital rights to same sex couples, you and I disagree,” O’Malley wrote.

“As governor, I am sworn to uphold the law without partiality or prejudice. When shortcomings in our laws bring about a result that is unjust, I have a public obligation to try to change that injustice.”

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 8:46 PM | | Comments (54)


His announcement last month came weeks after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that made New York the sixth state to allow gay couples to marry — and enjoyed a boost in his national profile. Can you say, Martin for President? Keeping up with the Cuomo's Gov? God help us. Martin doesn't need God. He's a Democrat. He needs votes. (At any price)

The original Maryland Democrat party has been taken over by the new Progressives that have focused on destroying Cities, County's and The State of Maryland. Maryland's "leaders" who support this have no shame.
Another referendum in the making.Martin just don't care he is Moving Maryland Backwards .God takes no bribes I forsee unexpected illness or deathfor those supporting Gay Marriages in thechurch.Martin Is working getting to Washington DC and he believes not even God is going to get in his way !

Absolutely shameful that he would back what his own God calls an abomination. That would make O'Malley an abomination in my eyes.

The bishop has no rights to get involved in politics. This is not the spanish inqusition. The people should be allowed to vote on this and not the church. The church should focus on it mission and not politics.

The Archbishop needs yet another reminder that the issue before the Legislature is CIVIL marriage, a function of the State. The Church has no legitimate interest in this issue, least of all by imposing religious dogma (not shared by all religious people and congregations, by the way) on the citizens.

Bravo Governor O'Malley! You were elected as a non-religious representative of ALL the people. Polls show that significantly more than 50% of the people of MD approve of the right of ALL people to the equal rights of marriage (Civil, not religious). No one is forcing the Catholic Church to condone it. At the same time, the Catholic Church has no right/voice in preventing gays from having the same rights as straights.

Remember, folks, if homosexuality is an abomination, so is everything else in Deuteronomy. Hope nobody's wearing clothing made from two different types of fabric. That's an abomination. Anyone here eat crabs recently? That's an abomination.

MOM couldn't care less about gay marriage. All he cares about is how it will further his political career.

What the good archbishop really forgets is that the church itself has a ceremony to bless same-sex unions: the Liturgy of Saints Serge and Bacchus, that there are gay saints in the Catholic Church, and that the current prejudice against gay people did not always exist.

It's also interesting how the less reasonable comments show a lack of good grammar, syntax, and spelling.

Ugh. Not only is the archbishop wrong for forgetting that pesky "separation of church and state" thingy. He is wrong for basically trying to make the Governor feel guilty for pushing his "goal" which conflicts with his "faith." (imagine guilt, shocking) O'Malley said it best when he said he must "uphold the law." If that conflicts with the archbishop's "faith"...then maybe it is time for his "faith" to update, grow and evolve.....just as the laws of the state and country continue to do. Keep up or be left FURTHER behind.

Good for O'Malley. Now, can we get the Catholic Church's tax exempt status revoked for meddling in political issues?

Hey Anonymous -homosexuality is called an abomination in two books of the Bible, and called a sin in the New Testament. It is clearly not condoned by God, despite the spin and twisting of the word by gays, gay supporters and heterophobes.

He's a politician. He'd sell his mother to the devil if he believed it would get him more votes.

O/Malley is more concerned about his political career than his faith. He's a typical liberal Democrat hypocrite.

It's about time! I doubt that Martin will pay any attention to the Archbishop or the Pope. He doesn't need the support of Catholics to get re-elected. He's courting illegals & gays now.
Martin is on a PR mission to beef up his political cred for national office. And he complained that the Wire was so wrong!

So, in 2006, Gov. O'Malley was against same gender marriage and now he is for it. It is very interesting to see this career politician, self-accalimed Catholic, radically change his religious, moral and ethical beliefs to suit his own interests. A man of principle and virtues he is not.

The Archbishop forgot RULE NUMBER ONE: Clerics can only speak out on Civil matters when they agree with liberal positions. I don't recall anyone getting upset when the Chuch's leaders came out against Capital punishment or in favor of in State tuition for people who don't even have the legal right to be here. But when the Archbishop speaks against abortion or gay marriage, two issues near and ear to liberal hearts, the usual Chorus starts about the so called separation of Church and State that is no where to be found in the Constitution. Funny but during the 60's and 70's I never read about any liberal being upset about the REVEREND MLK or Wm. Sloan Coffin or the Berrigan brothers speaking out on secular matters. The hypocrisy from the left is never ending.

I just love the people that hide in the bible, even though the bible was translated by clerics throughout the ages from one language to another. So, that would be like giving the constitution to either the liberals or the conservatives and asking them to translate it and make it something for EVERY person to be held to. People, wake up and get a brain! And to say that God does not support ALL of His children is absolutely sinful in and of itself. Live your life like Jesus did - he never opined on this and niether should you!

Also, Ranger, true, separation of church and state does not appear in the constitution as a phrase, but the supreme court has held the first amendment to mandate this very simple principle.

"Conflicts with your faith"? What faith? The governor also supports abortion doesnt he? And we have a president who insists that a cross be taken down before a speech? No wonder God doesnt bless this country like He used to. Dont vote for this man when he wants to run for congress.

Geez, looks like the RC Church and it's followers are condoning discrimination in defiance of our Constitution. Perhaps they should move to Rome where the Vatican presides like royalty over its crumbling empire.

It's time to move on, this is the 21st Century, not the 1st.

O'Malley is such a coward. He offers no help when it's needed on passing gay marriage, and then so graciously offers it and stands up for justice when his help is no longer needed and benefits him politically! How is there not more outrage in the gay community in Maryland? Proud to say I've never voted for him.

I am catholic and I don't support civil union or gay marriage. I also don't support the legislators being able to just decide the state's stance, it should be put on the ballot and decided by the voters of this state; if it passes, then I'll accept it as the will of the people.

OK gf and just how did the Archbishop violate the so called wall of separation between Church and State? Please refer me to any SC decision that says when someone becomes a member of the Clergy they lose the right they would otherwise have as American citizens to speak out in public on matters of public concern. Do you think MLK and the Berrigans were wrong in speaking out against the Vietnam War? Did they violate that Wall of separation?


If you "don't support civil union or gay marriage," you're in luck. Neither is required for you.

Now that you can relax on that front, perhaps you can explain to me why you and the Archbishop feel it is appropriate for your dogma to be applied to me, a non-believing fellow citizen? Also, why is the Archbishop not lobbying the Governor to ban civil marriage between Catholics and non-Catholics? Why is he not proposing to ban civil divorce? Surely these two issues are seen by the Church as equal or greater threats to the family?

Oh ... and as far as putting marriage equality up for a vote, let's roll the clock back to 1954, and put school integration and equal access to public accomodations up for a vote, shall we? Questions of civil rights, by definition, seek to address grievances of a minority and do not lend themselves to vote by a majority.


I, for one, never denied the Archbishop the right to speak to the Governor. What I deny him is the illusion that his opinion has any relevance to the matter at hand. He is free to teach his flock, he is free to deny the sacrament of Holy Matrimony to any couple he chooses, but he cannot expect those teachngs and those prejudices to be enshrined in civil law.

What the governor and those who want to give gays equal protection under the law forget is that a gay marriage is simply not equal to a heterosexual union from its very physical essence. To be blunt, the plumbing is different. There is no biological complementarity between two gay people, and that is the basis for what we call marrige. So redefine that physical relationship if you will, but one relationship will never be equal to the other one biologically. Forget having children, although that's one possible consequence of a hetero union not possible for gays, and pretty much essential to the survival of the species. And please don't tell me love is the basis for marriage. I love my dog--that doesn't mean I should be able to marry him. Nor do I hate gays--the ones I know are great people. But please don't call what they do the same thing my wife and I have.

BankStreet: Religious teaching enshrined in Civil Law? Been happening for a long time in this Country. Ever hear of the "Kosher Food Laws" in Maryland which are based on the religious beliefs of a small minority in Maryland. Can I sign you up for an immediate petition to repeal them? Ah good old anti-Catholicism rears its' head again. The only politically correct bigotry still tolerated by the so called intelligensia


Last time I checked, I could still buy pork chops at the Safeway. Kosher dietary laws have not become the law of the land. You make my case for me.

And, please, don't accuse me of anti-Catholic bias. My ony "bias" is against Catholic teachings transcending civil law.


I am sorry you think the love possible between two committed human beings is equivalent to your relationship with your dog. It also saddens me that you equate love with plumbing. The next time you chat with your Gay friends (especially any of them in long-term committed relationships), ask them if they feel in any way diminished in thier passion or love for one another by anatomical "limitations."

Congratulations to Gov. O’Malley . This entire situation is summed up perfectly at the end:

“As governor, I am sworn to uphold the law without partiality or prejudice. When shortcomings in our laws bring about a result that is unjust, I have a public obligation to try to change that injustice.”

Religion plays no part in a civil marriage license. That's the simple truth. That's why atheists can buy a marriage license too.

The Bishop is out of line trying to tell a politician to base American law on a supernatural belief system. Shame on him. They should revoke the tax exempt status of the Catholic Church if the BIshop wants to play in the political arena.

Regardless of what people's differing faiths teach them on a moral level about homosexuality, it is not against the law to be gay, or to fall in love with someone of the same gender and want to spend your life together.

The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association (founded in 1902) says that more than a century of research has shown "no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies."

We make our laws according to the United States Constitution, not according to the Bible. That is the simple truth.

No church has ever been, or will ever be, forced to recognize OR perform a same-sex marriage. This is about legal marriage certificates only.

Why does anyone listen to a corrupt "church" that sanctions molestation of children? Misusing the Bible for evil purposes as the catholic church has done for centuries is not justification of attempting to corrupt public officials. It's time the catholic church be taxed like any other political group.

We need to get the word out to religious communities that anti-gay people are twisting God's words to condone their hate.

Homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible is constantly being taken out of context to support anti-gay views. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, Greek temple sex worship, prostitution, pederasty with teen boys, and rape, not homosexuality or two loving consenting adults.

(Change *** to www)

"Absolutely shameful that he would back what his own God calls an abomination."

As a duly elected official he is more responsible for the abomination of human rights that not lobbying for gay marriage represents.

The archbishop has control over ceremonies in his own churches. Civil marriage is none of his damned business.

Instead of going after same-sex couples seeking marriage equality, why doesn't he do something for poor people? People without insurance? People without homes? People molested by his church's clergy?

Yeah, but priests practicing pedophilia instead of celibacy is OK in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is full of hypocrites and when a priest gets busted for being a pedophile, the Vatican covers for them. The latest church funded study blamed priest pedophilia on the 1960s sexual revolution. What a bunch of idiots. I am a straight male with gay/lesbian friends who fully supports marriage equality.

Civil Rights should never be put to a popular vote.

Hey bankstreet:

There it is! The race card! I also spit on the side walk and kick my dog.
I'm sure you don't mind the gov giving illegals in state tuition either, so much for the people deciding this issue also.

You have to wonder, if God wanted marriage to be *solely* between procreating couples, why did He create post-menopausal women?

PRAISE GOD for O'Malley's courage. He took the high road urging compassion, unity, and bringing people closer to God!
This is something I thought the Catholic church would be more in a line with. Unfortunately, they choose to pour obscene amounts of our tithing's into initiatives to take away Gay rights. Money which could go to helping the starving, homeless, and impoverished in our nation and the world.

As their membership declines in intelligent nations, they are reaching out to the more non-educated areas to convert the ignorant.

I don't think Jesus would be proud of their discrimination, condemnation, and crucifixion of their Gay children, family members, and neighbors.


It is my sincerest hope the governor gets homosexual marriage passed so we republicans can finally have a chance at getting power in the state of Maryland. Heed these word Democrats, this will go to referendum along with the criminal alien referendum. Go HomO'Malley !!

In opposing same-sex marriage, Archbishop O’Brien not only has a sound theological basis in urging Governor O’Malley to do the same, he also has strong factual and legal basis. The reason is that demanding government-recognition of same-sex marriage has no factual or constitutional basis. For one, homosexuality bears no resemblance to race or gender to which it erroneously compared on a consistent basis. Unlike the former condition, the latter two traits are purely genetic and are not subject to any form of human control. As such, people of all sexes and races, no matter their sexual orientation, are entitled to the basic individual rights and liberties, which no one can remove by vote or legislation.

However, human behavior is an entirely separate issue. For no matter the outcome, human behavior begins with a behavioral urge. In most cases, the person may have no recollection of when they first experienced the urge or of choosing to have it. Nor do many feel they can stop having the urge. However, what all people can do is to decide whether they'll act on the urge and engage in the behavior or not.

Consequently, the Constitution clearly permits us to pass laws governing human behavior for the benefit of individuals and society. (1) Because some behaviors are beneficial, we pass laws to encourage them. Examples include buying a home, going to college, or starting a business. (2) Other behaviors have the potential for harm but prohibiting them would be undue burden on liberty. So for these behaviors we pass laws limiting them to consenting adults. Examples in this category are smoking, gambling, or drinking to excess. (3) Finally some behaviors are so egregiously harmful that we pass laws banning them and instituting harsh penalties if they're broken. Examples in this category would be the taking of life or property.

Marriage between one man and one woman has consistently shown that it belongs in the first category of human behavior. In comparison, same-sex behavior, whether it occurs in a committed setting or not, clearly falls in the second behavioral category and, therefore, should not be encouraged with government-recognized marriage. The reasons are as follows:

1. Unlike race or gender, homosexuality can be triggered though social and cultural influences.

2. In comparison to heterosexuals, homosexuals are far more prone to bodily damage and disease, much of which is serious and life threatening.

3. Even in “committed” relationships, homosexuals, primarily men, are notoriously non-monogamous.

4. In areas that permit SSM, homosexuals are far more likely to divorce than heterosexuals.

5. Homosexuals experience more emotional and mental illness, than heterosexuals.

6. Domestic violence is much more prevalent in male same-sex relationships than in heterosexual ones.

I would urge readers of this article to read the essay on which this post is based. Entitled “The Case for Limiting Government Recognition to Traditional Relationships,” it consists of an essay that I placed at,

Here, besides a more detailed discussion of the list, above, there's citations to the scientific references (mainstream, respected, and apolitical references) on which the essay is based (on pages 4 and 5). After considering what's written here and/or in the essay, I would urge proponents of same-sex marriage to reconsider their view. If they can't offer a fact-based rebuttal to what I've written, then proponents of same-sex marriage have no right to demand that our government recognize same-sex marriage and subsidize it with tax and legal incentives, like it rightfully does for heterosexual marriage.

For those who understand that marriage must remain between one man and one woman, we have to work together to get this information out, since the main stream media will not. To do so, please email this post to as many people as you can and ask that they do the same. Additionally, email it to your representatives and demand that they vote down any law granting government recognition of same-sex marriage and vote them out of office if they don’t.

In doing so, you’ll remind your representatives about the basis for all good law. That basis, of course, is facts - not the whims of one individual or even a few - a condition that our forefathers fought to erase more than 200 years ago. Clearly, as I've shown here, the facts clearly oppose government-recognition of same-sex marriage


I only bring up racial discrimination as a parallel to this current issue. Referring to history is not "playing the race card."

My point was better made by journalist Andrew Sullivan, who wrote, "When you put a tiny and despised minority up for a popular vote, the minority usually loses."

The Constitution is designed to protect the rights of minorities against the will of "the people."


We "homos" pay taxes, vote, and share your highways, schools, and workplaces. We probably are in your family and among your closest friends. Some of us are even Republicans. We're just tired of being treated like second-class citizens. Get used to it. We don't go out of our way to bother you. We aren't going anywhere.

This has nothing to do with civil rights. Same sex "marriage" has everything to do with sexual liberationist ideology. As for those who claim the Catholic Church is getting involved in politics, they are dead wrong. Marriage is a pre-political institution. In other words, the State of Maryland did not invent marriage. Therefore, no government on earth has the right to redefine marriage. Same sex "marriage" is a radical form of social engineering and a clear threat to religious liberty. I should know because I live in a State where it has been legalized. The 6 States and D.C. are way out of line in redefining marriage. The only way we can prevent this madness from infecting other portions of the U.S. is by SCOTUS to declare gay "marriage" laws unconstitutional and ratifying a constitutional amendment that declares that authentic marriage is between one man and one woman. Citizens of Maryland, don't let this madness called same sex "marriage" come to your State!

Mr Rivera,

I assume you can document specific injury marriage equality has done to you, your family, your church, and/or your unnamed state.

No one claims that the State invented marriage, but it has codified civil marriage for generations, "redefining" it at least once before -- to allow mixed-race marriages.

Hysteria becomes no one. It sounds especially bad in you, Mr Rivera.

Trick or treat?
Save it for Halloween Mr Archbishop..

Cheers, Joe Mustich
'CT Justice of the Peace,
Washington Green, CT USA

Just amazing, just saw O'Malley on Greta and he totally emabarrassed the citizens of the state of Maryland. Thanks Greta for calling him out on his left-wing B.S. What a joke!!!!

Really MOM why are you so invested in this issue. Laws to recognize a lifestyle choice that is deviation from the societal norms. Let gays maintain marriage for civil reasons and let society maintain its integrity for family..

I applaud Governor O’Malley for holding firm in the face of religious bullying. When it comes to matters of public policy, the Church’s opinion should remain, well, just that— an opinion. Of course, the Church does not see it that way. According to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican office that oversees Catholic Church doctrine, “the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly” to any legislation favoring gay marriage. That Mr. O’Malley is the one actually sponsoring the bill is nothing short of heresy!

From its militant opposition to stem-cell research to its sweeping campaign against contraception, the Church’s failure to regard morality in terms of human well-being is merely hastening its own demise. As we wait it out, let us hope that our politicians continue to promote genuine human interests over irrational dogmatism.

"Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien privately urged him against “promoting a goal that so deeply conflicts with your faith.”

Since when did urging someone become bullying?

You're missing the subtext. The Catholic Church requires politicians to heed its teachings. The penalty for failing to do so is excommunication.

What O'Malley has done is deeply immoral in the eyes of the Church and cannot be forgiven unless he is truly sorry. Obviously, unless he withdrawals his support for the bill, he is not truly sorry.

The Archbishop "urged" him to do something in his capacity as a Church leader. O'Malley refused. O'Malley will be excommunicated.

Mike "urged" John to give him his lunch money. John refused. John will be stuffed in his locker.

Yes there should realize the opportunity to RSS commentary, quite simply, CMS is another on the blog.

The ArchBishop is welcome to his opinion, but it has no real standing in a country with secular laws. If the Catholics could impose their biases; the what stops the Muslims or Jews. The Founding Fathers knew religious bigotries did not deserve legal standing.

That said allowing gays to marry does not affect religions anyway. Currently people get a state license to marry (this is secular for all). Then they can decide to marry in a church or not (that is religious). The church can reject anyone they do not want to marry (that is religious). Even if you do not get married in a church; they state still considers you married. So what is the problem as long as churches still don't have to marry anyone they do not want to.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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