February 3, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) – Shouts of “kill this bill” and “one man, one woman” thundered throughout Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis on Monday night. Also known as the State House Square, it is situated between the Maryland State House and the Governor’s residence, and it was to both that the crowd, estimated at more than 2,000 people, was directing its cries. Once again, marriage is under threat in the state of Maryland.
The Civil Marriage Protection Act, which would redefine marriage as including unions by two people of the same sex, was defeated last year but has been resurrected, this time with the endorsement of Maryland’s Governor, Martin O’Malley. And the pressure is on. First Lady Catherine Curran O’Malley, referring to the defeat of last year’s failed attempt, blamed it on “some cowards,” a statement she quickly regretted, as it fueled the determination of the current bill’s opponents and cast a shadow over the noble sheen of “understanding, compassion and justice” that “same-sex marriage” advocates are invoking.
Knowing that they do not have the necessary support to push this bill through the usual approval process, advocates are attempting to manipulate the process. It is being rushed, in the hopes that the bill can be pushed through the Senate and a combination of House committees, since the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee does not have enough votes on its own for success.
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I was proud Monday night listening to the array of speakers defend marriage. I won’t even consent to calling it “traditional” marriage because there is only one possible type of marriage, and that is the permanent union of a man and a woman who are open to life. Two men or two women living together in a sexual relationship never can be married – even if the state wants to play semantic games.
Why not? Because marriage is a covenant of love, and such love is not a private good. It is by its nature open to life. Any relationship that attempts to reduce love to personal satisfaction, emotional or physical gratification, or merely “my” happiness is not love.
There are other words for what this really is, but is it not marital love. And since marriage is a covenant of love, by definition no homosexual relationship can be marriage. Homosexual unions do not, and cannot, lead to life. And this point was stressed wonderfully in almost every address there in Lawyer’s Mall. The speakers rightly warned that this bill is not just about couples who want to marry. It is, more fundamentally, about the good of our children. As a Catholic priest pointed out in his speech, families are already so broken in our nation. Legally depriving children of the stable relationship that only a mother and father can provide, and celebrating this through word-games, is only going to harm children more, and destabilize our society further.
A further point that bears repeating is that those who oppose the legal redefinition of marriage are not bigots and are not motivated by hate. The emotionally charged nature of these accusations further contributes to the “smokiness” clouding the issue. As I stated in a previous column, “far from being an act of ‘hate,’ the refusal to endorse [a] homosexual lifestyle should be and often is motivated by love and a sincere care for the true well-being of the person with the homosexual inclination.”
It was brought up by an African-American preacher at the rally that this is not a civil rights issue, but rather an issue that has everything to do with love! For love of our brothers and sisters who have a homosexual tendency we must share the truth that there is the possibility of real love – a love for which we were made and which truly makes us flourish. For love of our children, we must protect marriage and family. For love of our culture, our society and our nation we must proclaim the truth that love is self-giving, that we flourish only in a sincere gift of self.
Your prayers and action are critical at this time. If you are a Maryland resident, please contact your state representatives and make your voice heard! The Maryland Marriage Alliance has a wonderful website with helpful resources. If you are not a Maryland resident, your prayers and sacrifices are not inconsequential! Many representatives want to do the right thing but are under extreme pressure. You can strengthen them through your words of support for marriage and your prayer. Finally, whether you are a Maryland resident or not, this alarming initiative coming from a body of persons who claim to be guardians of the public good is an invitation to all of us to start sharing the beauty of the truth in the public square.
The human heart was made for love. We were each made by Love Himself, for love. If we witness to the love of God in our daily lives, it will speak on its own merits. Truth and beauty do not need to be marketed; but they do need to be witnessed in our personal lives to become real and tangible for others to see. Let’s each do our part to be true witnesses, then, lest, in words from Robert Bolt’s play Man for All Seasons, legally sanctioned word games “make smoky what should be a clear light” for all to see.
Melanie Baker is a Contributing Writer of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for the Truth and Charity Forum, where this column first appeared.