Baltimore’s Faith Leaders Weigh in on Marriage Equality

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As you’ve probably heard, Baltimore’s new archbishop, William Lori, sent a letter urging “Catholics and faithful citizens” to “show up on election day and do our part by voting against Question 6,” the bill that would establish marriage equality in Maryland. But some of Baltimore’s Catholic leaders are speaking their mind in quite a different way.

Pastor Richard T. Lawrence of Baltimore’s St. Vincent de Paul church spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage in his homily last weekend. According to the National Catholic Reporter,

“It seems to me, therefore,” Lawrence continued, “that even if we do not believe that gay marriage ever could or should be allowed in the church, we could live with a provision that allows civil marriage of gay and lesbian couples. Personally, however, I would go farther than that.”

Turning to decisions at Vatican II (1962-65), Lawrence said an eventual change in church teaching was possible, “and we could come to recognize the total, exclusive and permanent union of gay and lesbian couples as part of the sacrament of matrimony.”

He went on to say that he believed that “this” (presumably referring to equal rights for everyone, no matter their sexual orientation) “is a possible line of future development in theology and perhaps eventually even in church teaching. And if this is even a possibility, could we not judge that civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples ought to be allowed by the state at this time?”

That kind of logic may not thrill LGBT activists, but it’s a powerful message of support from a community that has long opposed marriage equality. After he finished speaking, Lawrence’s congregation gave him a standing ovation.



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