BALTIMORE--Catholics? strong support for marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples is the thesis of a new book which examines this controversial topic from theological and political perspectives.
Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach by Francis DeBernardo will be launched at a press conference on Saturday, February 19, 2011, 3:15 p.m., Hilton Pikesville Hotel, 1726 Reisterstown Road, Baltimore, Maryland. The book is published by New Ways Ministry, a national Catholic organization which works for justice and equality for lesbian and gay people. DeBernardo serves as New Ways Ministry?s Executive Director.
Written in question and answer format, the book dispels the myth that Catholic lay people follow the bishops? public opposition to same-gender marriage. Quite the opposite is true, with Catholic people leading all Christian denominations in their support for lesbian/gay rights.
The book examines the particular case in Maryland, where marriage equality legislation is currently being considered by state lawmakers. With a population that is 23% Catholic (the largest denomination in the state), Maryland is a good barometer for the Catholic electorate nationally. As the author points out, a 2009 poll indicates that the strong support for same-gender marriage among Maryland?s Catholic population mirrors national statistics for Catholics as well. (A plurality of 49% of Maryland Catholics favor legislative action that would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.)
In addition to statistical information, the book makes the case, based on theological evidence and church documents, that the views of lay people are authentically Catholic positions. It describes some of the ways that Catholic attitudes about sexuality have been changing over the past several decades, with an emerging consensus that same-gender relationships are holy and should be legalized.
The main text of the book is interspersed with statements from Catholic Marylanders, explaining why they have taken a positive stand towards marriage equality. Some prominent names include: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former lieutenant governor of Maryland, State Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, State Delegates Heather Mizeur, Joseline Pena-Melnyk, andKriselda Valderrama, and College Park City Councilman Patrick Wojahn. Three Catholic religious Sisters also offer testimonials: Sister Hope Bauerlin, a long-time social justice advocate; Sister Jeannine Gramick, a pioneer in pastoral ministry to lesbian and gay Catholics; and Sister Maureen Fiedler, host of the National Public Radio show, Interfaith Voices. Lesbian gay couples and single people, as well as their parents, also are represented.
The book release press conference follows a daylong meeting of Maryland Catholics on the topic of marriage equality, at the same location, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information about the book, the author, the daylong meeting, or New Ways Ministry, please contact 301-277-5674,firstname.lastname@example.org, www.newwaysministry.org .