The group leading Maryland’s same-sex marriage campaign is highlighting Catholic supporters, including former lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D).
Townsend, a member of one of the most prominent Catholic families in American politics, is scheduled to appear at a news conference Tuesday morning in Baltimore, alongside parents of gay children.
The Maryland Catholic Conference, the official lobby for the church, was among the more vocal opponents of Maryland’s same-sex marriage legislation this year and is also working for its repeal in the November election. Among other arguments, the group stresses the importance of having both fathers and mothers in children’s lives.
But Catholics are not of one voice on the issue in a state where the church played a central role in its founding.
Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who sponsored this year’s same-sex marriage bill, is a practicing Catholic. He has argued that all families should have the same legal rights. House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) also broke with the church in shepherding the legislation through his chamber.
More recently, both O’Malley and Busch have appeared at fundraisers to benefit Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the group hosting the news conference Tuesday in Baltimore.
Townsend, the oldest child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, has written and lectured in recent years on the role of faith in public life.
Besides Townsend, who fell short in her bid for Maryland governor in 2002, other scheduled speakers at the event Tuesday include William Cole, a Baltimore City Councilman.
Maryland voters will get the final say on the issue in November. The law passed this year is on hold until then as a result of a successful petition drive by opponents. If voters uphold the law, same-sex marriages would begin in Maryland in January.