Back in March, Bishop Richard Malone of the Maine Catholic diocese claimed that the Church would not actively campaign against the state’s marriage equality initiative, despite leading the charge against the state’s same-sex marriage law through Question One in 2009. At the time, he released a pastoral letter introducing a new marriage “education” campaign that would allegedly focus only on church attendees. In a letter to the New York Times, Malone has now reasserted that the Church will be involved in this year’s ballot campaign:
I have not backed down in the church’s defense of marriage. Although not a member of the current political action committee, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is playing a crucial role in November’s vote, launching a communication and educational effort based on my pastoral letter.
This document is intended to educate all people of good will about the truth and beauty of marriage as it has been preserved for millenniums by society and various religions.
Objectively, the essence of marriage can only be the union of one man and one woman open to the new life of children, whom they nurture in their irreplaceable roles as father and mother. Faithful Catholics will continue to defend God’s plan for marriage through its preaching and teaching and in the public square.
The Church seems to be playing some kind of PR game with this ballot measure that is very easy to see through. The documentary Question One portrays the malicious tactics the Church-run campaign utilized to turn people against marriage equality, and the activists leading the current anti-equality effort are using even more flagrantly demonizing tactics. Clearly Malone is trying to distance the Church from such language and responsibility in the fight, yet at the same time maintain its anti-gay principles. With a majority already supporting the measure and most lay Catholics disagreeing with Church leadership on LGBT issues, his wishy-washy efforts may ultimately fall on deaf ears.