BOSTON, Massachusetts, October 5, 2005, (—Church goers in Massachusetts participated in a massive blitz this past weekend to obtain signatures on a petition calling for a public vote on same sex marriage.

The effort, organized by Vote On Marriage, gathered 25,000 of the 65,825 signatures needed by the Nov. 23 American Thanksgiving. If successful, the question will be added to the 2008 statewide ballot.

The petition, which supports a constitutional amendment banning homosexual marriage, has the backing of the state’s four Roman Catholic Bishops and other conservative leaders including former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn. Massachusetts is the only U.S. state to allow gay couples to wed, after a law was passed by the State’s Supreme Judicial Court in 2003.

MassEquality, a gay marriage advocacy group, protested outside many churches during the signature drive.

Churches in the Boston area either read a letter on the issue from Bishop O’Malley or included it in the bulletin. The letter, dated September 21st, stated that “The parishes of the Archdiocese can assist in this effort by way of collecting signatures after Masses or at other parish events. Please consider supporting the referendum drive by way of your signature in order that the people of Massachusetts can have the right to make a decision concerning the definition of marriage.”

Bishop O’Malley also made an effort to promote a balanced perspective. “I wish to remind people of the church that we are all members of a family of faith and beyond the church we are all members of the human family. There is no room in the church or in society for rejection, disregard or mistreatment of a person because of their sexual orientation. As Catholics we are called to respect the God-given dignity of every person.”

September 21, 2005 – Letter from Archbishop O’Malley on
  Vote On Marriage Official Website