MONDAY
February 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 36
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
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MAINE CATHOLICS SAY DIOCESE LEFT THEM ON GAY RIGHTS BILL SWITCH

    PORTLAND, Maine (CWNews.com) - Catholics in Maine have criticized the Diocese of Portland for changing positions and supporting a controversial homosexual rights bill before the state's Legislature, according to the Portland Press-Herald on Thursday.

    The proposed law would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations. The Legislature's Judiciary Committee will decide next week whether to send the bill onto the House and Senate. A similar law was turned down by Maine voters in a 1995 referendum, and again in 1998.

    Although the Diocese of Portland opposed the 1995 measure, Bishop Joseph Gerry announced earlier this year that the diocese now supports the current proposal. Homosexual activist groups agreed to change the bill to exempt religious groups and church-affiliated organizations.

    Some opponents of the bill said during a public hearing earlier this week they felt betrayed by the reversal. Sandra Navia of Falmouth testified that individual Catholics like her had been ignored by the diocese, which had "capitulated" to "homosexual activists" and ignored its obligation to protect the "public morality of the entire civil society."

    Marc Caron, co-chancellor of the diocese, told legislators at the hearing that the bill would accomplish a basic Catholic goal: affirming the dignity of every human being, and eliminating unjust discrimination. He also noted that Catholic dioceses in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island have endorsed similar homosexual-rights laws. He added that the bill specifically guards intrusion by the state into Church doctrine.

          

February 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 36
NEWS & VIEWS

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