Unlike John C. Murphy in his April 18 letter "Catholics should know better than to oppose gay marriage," I laud CardinalEdwin O'Brien's leadership on preserving marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Mr. Murphy's argument for legitimizing homosexual unions on the basis of "religious freedom" is fundamentally flawed. All laws are the imposition of someone's concept of right and wrong on the rest of society. Many laws inhibit individual liberties and "rights" — religious or non-religious. Building on Maryland's history of recognizing religious liberty, our federal constitution recognizes that in the cases where religious liberty is inhibited, there must be a compelling state interest. The issue of which unions should be sanctioned by the state as "marriage" cannot be usefully addressed as one of newly asserted "rights." It concerns the extent to which society should recognize and support various possible sexual relationships as being consistent with the common good.
From time immemorial, marriage — the joining of a man and a woman into a publicly acknowledged and supported union — has been recognized as a fundamental social institution for the begetting and raising of children and for the common good of society. This fundamental societal perspective has been affirmed by many empirical studies — there is nothing better for children than to be raised by a mother and a father.
The question Marylanders face is whether public affirmation of homosexual unions as a "marriage" is sound public policy. Traditional Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious teaching says that it is most certainly not. Many other religious and non-religious people, simply reflecting on the substance of the matter, agree. For the common good of the citizens of the Maryland, I hope most voters will agree that homosexual unions should not be recognized and sanctioned by the state as "marriages" and that they will vote against the law in November.
G. Edward Dickey, Baltimore