Bishops' stance legitimizes discrimination against gays

November 12, 2011

In a directive worthy of the oxymoron "slavery is freedom," from George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm," the Roman Catholic Church in effect has said that "discrimination is religious liberty" ("Bishops assail same-sex marriage," Nov. 10).

In their directive, local bishops warn that if same-sex marriage is legalized in Maryland, Catholic businesses may actually have to supply food or flowers to people who are homosexuals. Imagine!

This directive is a transparent (and desperate) attempt to find any pretext to force Maryland to continue discriminating against some of its citizens.

Have businesses been demanding the right to turn down customers in states that don't discriminate against homosexuals? Where is the concern for the religious liberty of employees who might not want to collaborate in discrimination?

Where does this end? Could a Catholic caterer refuse to cater a party given by homosexuals or the reception after a civil union? Could florists refuse to provide flowers for a Unitarian service because the denomination marries homosexuals? Could businesses run by members of The Order or the Identity Church refuse to serve African-Americans and Jews in the name of "religious liberty"?

The truth is that the Roman Catholic Church never favored religious liberty in countries such as Ireland and Italy when it controlled the police powers of the state, including marriage.

The church's concern for religious liberty is a lie because this same directive asserts that prohibiting non-Catholics (and Catholics) from obtaining health insurance coverage for birth control is also an exercise of "religious liberty."

James Kelly, Ellicott City

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