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Marriage In Maryland: Senators Resist Lobbying Campaign By Church Hierarchy

Last night, when the Maryland Senate passed a marriage equality bill by 25-21, a win was scored for equal protection -- and for church-state separation.

The measure, if approved by the House and signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, will allow same-sex couples to marry in the state.  It’s legislation that isn’t sitting well with the Catholic hierarchy, especially considering the large number of Catholics who hold public office in the state. Read more

Red Mass Mandate: Archbishop Advises High Court Justices About Religion And Government

Yesterday morning, I attended the Red Mass here in Washington along with five Supreme Court justices and Vice President Joe Biden. Okay, we weren’t in the same pew – they were in the front rows; I wasn’t.

But all of us heard Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, an American who now works at the Vatican, give a homily that instructed those in attendance on how they should feel about same-sex marriage, abortion and the dire threat of “humanism.” Read more

Props On Prop. 8 Decision: In His Marriage Ruling, Judge Properly Divorced Church And State

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker gave us an excellent tutorial on why the debate over marriage rights for same-sex couples is as much about church-state separation as it is about equality for all Americans.

In his decision striking down Proposition 8 -- California’s constitutional ban on gay marriage -- he explained that our laws, including those governing marriage, cannot be based solely on private moral or religious beliefs – they must also have a secular purpose. Read more

At The Movies: New Documentary Examines Mormon Church Influence On Prop. 8 Vote

An interesting documentary is opening in some major cities this weekend, and if you get the chance, I’d suggest that you check it out.

Titled “8: The Mormon Proposition,” the film examines the role the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) played in helping pass Proposition 8 in California, which repealed marriage equality for same-sex couples. Read more

Funding Fuss: Church Drops Out Of D.C. Program Rather Than Abide By New Marriage Law

Today’s Washington Post reports that the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has stopped running its foster-care program to avoid having to license same-sex couples.

Back in November, the Archdiocese threatened to drop contracts with the D.C. government to provide social services if the D.C. Council approved a same-sex marriage bill. Thankfully, their threats did not faze the council, which approved the measure in December. Read more

Snow Job: Religious Right Pastor Has No Truck With D.C. Same-Sex Marriage Law

Over the weekend, Washington was slammed by a treacherous snowstorm that dumped two feet of snow in some areas.

Since I grew up in Ohio and went to college in Syracuse, N.Y., the snow didn't really bother me much. But for others here, the blizzard was a difficult experience. Read more

Wise Council: D.C. Stands Firm On Religion Exemption In Same-Sex Marriage Law

It's always fun to report on church-state victories, and yesterday, we had a big one.

The District of Columbia Council voted 11-2 to permit same-sex couples to marry in the nation's capital. And despite threats from the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, the council refused to unduly broaden the measure's religious exemption, which already adequately protected religious freedom. Read more

Capital Clerical Control Checkmated: D.C. Pastors Learn There Are Limits To Their Power

Some members of the clergy in Washington, D.C., are angry because the city council will no longer automatically do what they want.

As The Washington Post reports today, clergy in the nation's capital are used to having their calls returned promptly; they expect the council to be responsive to their demands. Read more

Praying For Theocracy?: Across The Country, Groups Seek To Impose 'Religious Law'

The New York Times today reported on a sad and worrisome situation in Vallejo, Calif.

Though the community faces a financial crisis, much like the rest of the country, The Times asserts the town is also struggling because "its political system increasingly reflects the influence of evangelical churches." Read more

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