The Maryland Catholic Conference has objected to the official language released this week for Question 6, the marriage equality referendum on the Maryland ballot. According to the MCC, the language is “misguided” for suggesting that religious liberty will be protected:
Proponents of the law claim the ballot language reflects the measure’s supposed religious freedom protections for those who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This claim is misguided and ignores the fundamental reason to reject this measure. [...] According to the actual legislation, religious organizations that accept any sort of state or federal funds are excluded from religious liberty protections. They are not exempt, and there are no protections for individuals. Marylanders should not be fooled into thinking we can redefine marriage and still protect religious liberty.
What the MCC is suggesting is that “religious liberty” should enable any individual or business to ignore the legal recognition of same-sex marriages if they so choose, even if they operate under the purview of public law. In states like Illinois and Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, Catholic Charities voluntarily shut itself down, ignoring the viable options of either recognizing same-sex couples or operating without state funding. The Catholic Church is arguing that religious beliefs should grant permission to completely ignore the laws set forth by the government — in other words, anarchy.