A few weeks ago, right after the SSM bill passed the Maryland Senate, the Baltimore Sun headlined: “Gay marriage opponents slow to fight in Annapolis.”
But last week just before Friday’s vote, the Sun reported that delegates “had never heard from so many people on a single issue.” The Washington Post reports that phone calls ran as high as 25 to 1 against the bill in some delegates offices.
So what changed?
Religious faithful in the state spoke up up. Clergy and lay people. Blacks, Hispanics and Whites. Catholics, Baptists, and Pentecostals. All came together in a big way over the past two weeks. Pastors meeting with delegates. Bishops rallying the faithful. Everyone coming together in Annapolis to stand for marriage. And it made the difference.
Just a few examples:
The Washington Post credited the “last-minute push” from black clergy in Prince George’s county, with personal lobbying visits to delegates’ offices and calls from the pulpit for parishioners to “Fight for the Family,” generating hundreds of visits and thousands of emails, phone calls and faxes.
The Baltimore Sun reported the “potentially potent lobby effort” from Hispanic churches, quoting Bishop Angel Nunez of the Bilingual Christian Church in Baltimore, and Senior Vice-President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, a national coalition of more than 25,000 evangelical Hispanic congregations, rallied Hispanic leaders in the state, coordinating sermons on the marriage issue.
Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop O’Brien, and Bishop Malooly issued a joint statement, rallying the state’s 1.2 million Catholics, and bringing hundreds to the statehouse to speak to delegates.
Pastor John Smith, Head of the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware, told the Sun that their 500 member churches in Maryland would be using “all avenues” to oppose the same-sex marriage bill.
Last week, legislators finally got the message. Congratulations once again to the people of Maryland!