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Same-sex marriage is not a civil right

Letter writer John C. Murphy, a Catholic, heard a message by CardinalEdwin F. O'Brienurging Marylanders to support the referendum against same-sex marriage. But he won't accept his leader's understanding of the nature of marriage, nor that of most Protestants ("Catholics should know better than to oppose gay marriage," April 18).

As Christians, we look to words of Scripture. Jesus was gender specific in referring to marriage: "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matthew 19:4-6).

Mr. Murphy correctly notes that "In Colonial America Catholics were denied the right to vote or hold civil office. …The illustrious Charles Carroll of Carrollton could not vote in Maryland when he signed the Declaration of Independence. …Religious freedom imposes burdens and benefits. It freed Catholics to observe their religion. But it also means that Catholics cannot turn around and deny a civil right such as marriage to those deemed in conflict with Catholic teachings."

However, marriage is not a civil right. It is a union between a man and woman, who "become one flesh," as Jesus put it. Two gays or two lesbians cannot "become one flesh." To put it bluntly, their sexual expression is not intercourse.

Also, most gays are not interested in marriage. In Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004, there have been only 5,000 among the state's 130,000 gay men.

Cardinal O'Brien is right and Mr. Murphy is mistaken. I look forward to a statewide referendum on the issue. My "No" vote in November will cancel Mr. Murphy's vote.

Mike McManus, Potomac

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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