Deirdre Fulton's and Shay Stewart-Bouley's comments and Seth Berner's letter on the Marriage Equality Act repeal (see "After the Question 1 Vote," "Saying Their 'I Don'ts,'" and Letters, November 13) are insightful. I would add another perspective:
It was Bishop Malone's determination to deny to same-sex couples 40-odd legal protections available to married couples rather than have the state include them in its marriage law — to impose his Catholic view on everyone in Maine, contrary to the Second Vatican Council's departure from such impositions — and his tactics that sank the MEA.
Malone leagued with fundamentalist Scripture text-proofing, which Catholic leaders have heretofore condemned. He bullied Catholics with a petition, eight bulletin inserts, two command homilies, his own mandated DVD during the Eucharist, a special collection, and four articles in his glossy magazine. His campaign adopted the sleazy fear-mongering deceit used in California when the substantive argument (marriage has always been this way) failed to persuade, a direct appeal to ignorance and homophobic bigotry, that the law would lead to "teaching same-sex marriage" in the schools. Nothing in the law provides for that and it would likely effect no change from teachers now observing that children may have only one parent or two mommies or two daddies by way of establishing civility in their classrooms.
Finally, though the law in no way affects the Church's reservation of sacramental marriage to heterosexuals, Malone posits that Scripture, church teaching, and then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's assertion that "clear and emphatic opposition" to affording homosexual unions "legal status and rights" "is a duty" that precludes "supporting same-sex marriage."
Ratzinger's and his say-so should alone factor into exercise of the primacy of conscience recognized at the Second Vatican Council. Don't examine their case. Don't think. Don't make a reasonable judgment.
Unfortunately, far too many US Catholics, particularly the less educated, still view Church hierarchy with awe and their commands as above challenge, however poor their arguments and however discredited the bishops and Vatican are by complicity in the sex abuse epidemic — and despite Vatican II's call the laity to grow up and make adult decisions.
All Malone accomplished was to deny our GLBT neighbors legal protections, demean the Maine Catholic Church, and embarrass Maine Catholics.
William H. Slavick