Catholic Conference Says Maryland Marriage Referendum Wording Misleads Voters


The Catholic Review:

"... the [Maryland Catholic Conference] says the [gay marriage] law only purports to protect religious freedoms.“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,” the MCC said.

“Marylanders should not be fooled into thinking we can redefine marriage and still protect religious liberty,” it added.

Derek McCoy, the Maryland Marriage Alliance’s executive director, said any attempt on behalf of the state to favor same-sex marriage with its ballot language will “backfire.”

“Voters will be inherently suspicious of any description that goes to such lengths to say what supposedly isn’t impacted, rather than deal forthrightly with what obviously is impacted,” he said in a statement.

“Maryland parents who send their children to public schools are immediately asking how does this affect what is taught in schools. Business owners have a right to know if their personal opinions about same-sex marriage will find them in violation of the law,” he said.

“It’s a classic ‘pay no attention to that man behind the curtain’ moment that will make it easier for us to bring attention to the profound consequences of redefining marriage,” he added."


  1. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    "A “yes” vote for the ballot item – Question 6, labeled on the ballot as “Civil Marriage Protection Act” – supports legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland."

    Huh? Not trying to confuse anyone, are they?

    And we all know the so-called "religious freedom protections" are hogwash.

  2. Katie
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    @Barb: It's really not. The same situation applies in Washington: a "yes" vote legalizes same-sex marriage.

    The referendum itself determines whether people accept or reject the law passed in the state legislature and signed by the governor. If you vote "yes," you accept the law, and if you vote "no," you reject it.

  3. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    OK, I didn't think I had to spell it out but, apparently, I do.

    The average voter is going to look at the title of the referendum and make the false assumption that “Civil Marriage Protection Act” means protecting marriage when, in reality, it means redefining marriage.

    The title is designed to confuse the voter.

  4. OvercameSSA
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Barb -

    I read about the wording on another web site, and I was under the impression, based on the title, that a yes vote meant to preserve traditional marriage not legalizing ss"m."

    Wow, just wow. How they got away with that wording, I can't imagine.

  5. Katie
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Then voters should educate themselves on the amendment, yes?

    By the way, the same confusion happened with Prop 8: many people who voted "yes" thought they were voting to *keep* same-sex marriage, not ban it. But I bet you're not too upset about that, are you?

  6. ocean
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    The word must go out in Maryland to vote "NO" for the
    “Civil Marriage Protection Act”.

  7. Dan
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    >>“Marylanders should not be fooled into thinking we can redefine marriage and still protect religious liberty,” it added

    That's exactly right. You must choose one or the other. We've already seen you can't have both. And it's not just Marylanders we need to understand this. We need all Americans to understand this and vote accordingly in November.

  8. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Katie, we agree that voters should educate themselves. Unfortunately, they often don't.

    How about this for the referendum question:

    Uphold gay marriage: YES NO

    In the case of Minnesota, leaving the question blank counts as a "NO" vote. Seems to me an answered question shouldn't count at all.

    Whatever. No doubt these rules all have some nefarious purpose.

  9. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    typo: *unanswered*

  10. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Katie wrote,
    > Then voters should educate themselves on the amendment, yes?

    How easily you rationalize the government's deliberate misleading of voters, by putting a responsibility on Joe Sixpack. Everybody "should" do what they "should" do.

    Hopefully, the voters haven't been wasting their time supporting their families and raising children, when they "should" be "educating" themselves on ballot language to overcome the government's deliberately misleading language.

    > By the way, the same confusion happened with Prop 8: many people who voted "yes" thought they were voting to *keep* same-sex marriage, not ban it.

    It went both ways. Some people voted "No", thinking they were voting no on SSM. Both sides went to the polls to educate voters on what a "yes" or a "no" vote meant.

    I was one of them. A volunteer at the polling station I was sent to told me I had to leave -- but I'd been prepared, and knew I could do what I was doing (über politely and respectfully). I stayed, expecting the police to come.

    After a while somebody came out and told me I'd caused a brouhaha inside the polls, but that the volunteers checked and found out that I did have the right to do what I was doing.

    Some of us aren't cowed so easily, and won't be intimidated.

    > But I bet you're not too upset about that, are you?<

    No, because it went both ways -- although it's telling that you told a half-truth.

  11. Glenna
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I really don't see what's confusing about the title of the referendum. "Civil" law shouldn't discriminate against "civil" marriage. (And I thought most religious people referred to one man/one woman marriage as "traditional" marriage, anyway.)

    As for the law not "protecting" organizations that discriminate against sexual orientation -- why should it? Federal (and some state) non-discrimination policies include sexual orientation. If you receive funds from the government (whether federal, state, county, or city/town), you shouldn't be allowed to discriminate. If you do want to discriminate, the only accept private funds. What's hard to understand about that?

    Also, re individuals. If you're a business owner that serves the public -- well, GLBTs are part of the public. You should treat them as you would any other member of the public if you want to stay in business.

    Now, I do NOT agree with suing a business owner to force them to allow me to patronize them. (I'm not gay, but that's not the point here.) Why would I want to patronize a business that's been forced to serve me? I'd rather go somewhere that actually wants me as a customer. (Even if it's an inconvenience for me.) I may tell my friends how the owner/manager treated me, but even then I wouldn't insist that they boycott the business; I'd let them come to their own decision about that.

    Well, those are my thoughts on the matter. Thanks for reading (for those of you who got all the way through this... :-D)