Catholic Church, Bishop Retreat from Political Battle Against Same-Sex Marriage in Maine

An unexpected move from the Catholic church in Maine, the Kennebec Journal reports:

MaloneThe Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine will take no active role in a political campaign against a same-sex marriage referendum that's expected to be on the November ballot, Bishop Richard Malone announced today.

Instead, the diocese is expanding an existing educational program to better inform church members about the qualities and benefits of marriage between one man and one woman.

The diocese will not be buying TV ads, taking special collections, or contributing staff to anti-gay marriage campaign, the paper adds:

Malone said the diocese doesn't want to impose a law or belief on anyone, but it does want to make the church's position known and contribute to the public debate over the push to redefine marriage.

"It's our constitutional right to make our voices heard," he said.

The pastoral letter will be distributed through Catholic schools and churches across the state, posted on the diocesan website and published in its Harvest magazine in May. It also will be the subject of church discussion groups and radio broadcasts. Malone said the information is meant for parishioners, "but we're hoping the message gets out beyond."

The largely in-house educational initiative represents a significant departure from the major role that the diocese played in supporting a successful 2009 referendum against gay marriage. The diocese contributed more than $500,000 to that $3.8 million campaign and its public affairs director took a leave of absence to lead the effort.

As you may recall, during the state's last marriage battle, Malone asked every Catholic Mass across the state play a video "homily" asking churchgoers to fight against marriage equality. Malone and the diocese also cut off funding for a group that helps the homeless as revenge for the group's support of the Maine "No on 1" campaign.

More recently, Malone announced the formation of a chapter of "Courage," the worldwide Catholic ministry for people "struggling with" same-sex attractions.


  1. Robert in NYC says

    I wonder if he’s informing parishioners about the benefits fellow catholic Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani have derived from 3 marriages and serial adultery to say nothing of Gingrich’s penchant for open marriages? What a hypocrite Malone is.

  2. kit says

    I would totally wear one of those little capes if I thought I could get away with it…

  3. says

    I suspect that, like the Mormons with Prop 8, the Diocese got so much negative blowback — particularly over closing churches while contributing half a mil to the anti-marriage campaign — that he’s decided to lay low.

  4. gaylib says

    Somebodies lawyer told them they were endangering their tax exempt status by sticking their bigoted nose into political campaigns where they don’t belong. About damn time.

  5. Ricco says

    When will the United States wake up to the fact that the Catholic Church, indeed all churches, are political machines, and while they have a constitution right to vote, by channeling, as an organization, millions of dollars into political campaigns, drives, and referendums, should, like anyone else, be taxed?

    Withdrawing funds that help the poor, and other disenfranchised groups of people, is a political move, not a spiritual move. Just taxing the perverted Catholic church or the contentious Mormon church would alleviate much of our deficit. Imagine taxing these churches, as well the Scientologists, and the Baptists, and every mega church throughout the country the difference to our economy!!

  6. Alex Parrish says

    Perhaps this diocese has awakened to political reality — but I doubt it. I suspect they’ve got something up-their-collective-sleeve.

  7. Jay says

    This is simply a pr ploy. The Catholic Church, including this Diocese, continues to pour money into their front group, the National Organization for Marriage. It probably has something to do with the contradiction between their pleading poverty when the attorneys for the altar boys the priests have molested demand compensation and their record of raising enormous sums to deprive gay people of equal rights.

  8. john patrick says

    Could this have anything to do with the court order for NOM to release the names of their donors?

  9. Continuum says

    I wondering along with John Patrick, whether the court order for NOM has anything to do with it.

    But, on the other hand, I wouldn’t believe anything any Catholic Bishop said.

  10. Lymis says

    I wish I could find the quote, but in one of these discussions, Malone made a side comment to the effect that while the Church wasn’t going to be directly doing ads and such, he was aware of other groups that were.

    It came across to me as a sort of sideways nod to groups like NOM that get a significant amount of their funding from the Church.

    It was certainly phrased to be deniable, but it really came across to me the same way Bush’s claim that he didn’t support a Federal Marriage Amendment “because he felt sure that DOMA and state marriage bans were sufficient.”

    I got no sense that the Bishop actually believes that the secular legislative process should be free of church influence or that non-Catholic citizens should be free to make their own moral choices without interference. Just that they’ve changed tactics.

  11. enough already says

    Goodness, me oh my. As if I am going to believe a word of this.

    What the child-rapists really mean is this:
    We will invest millions in cover groups who will do the dirty work for us.

    Leaving us free to look all innocent. Makes little boys and girls trust us all that much more.

  12. Pete says

    I want to ask him, if he really cares about marriage how does he address this fact:

    “Maine had one of the lowest marriage rates for both men and women but also the second-highest divorce rate for men (13 divorces per 1,000 men)” – The Associated Press.

    Given this fact, the RCC should be ashamed at the amount of money they spent in Maine last time around preventing a small part of the population from being happy.

    I dont trust people who ignore facts.

  13. Jeff R. says

    But! The Church will continue to voice their “opinion” from the pulpit. BASTARDS!

  14. Ted says

    A Chapter of Courage? How about a chapter of people who will no longer be mindless sheep following these idiots?

  15. PhineasFinch says

    I wonder if this means they won’t be donating $550,000 to Maggie Gallagher and the National Organization for Marriage this time around?

  16. ratbastard says


    I agree 100%.Tax the damn churches. I also think many colleges/universities are not deserving of ‘non-profit’ tax free status. 50% of the property in the City of Boston is owned by so-called ‘non-profits’ mostly universities, and the city and taxpayers get screwed royally by the huge loss in revenue. That Harvard, an institution with 30-40 bllion endowment has tax free non-profit status is beyond ridiculous. They own tons of valuable property in Boston, practically buy up whole neighborhoods. Likewise, these churches [not just the RC] really abuse the status quo system.

  17. true colors showing says

    @Kit I believe the cape is reversible with magenta on the inside, if that helps. You should totally get one.

    Wouldn’t it be crazy cool if lots of people started dressing like that!

  18. says

    No more press releases, maybe. Except the ones claiming not to be bigots – and calling anybody who calls them bigots bigots. Otherwise anti-gay activities to do on as usual.

  19. jack says

    That the Catholic Church has any credibility when speaking about sexual ethics is beyond my comprehension. It is a homophobic all boys club that has secretely moved preditor priests from parish to parish in order to avoid scandal. Regardless of the danger into which it put children.At the same time this homophobic church is filled with priests who are closeted homosexuals.

  20. says

    A vast majority of the money that supported the last go round on this topic came from outside the diocese, from catholic bishops, archbishops and individuals from elsewhere, I think that scenario will be repeated.

  21. Ned Flaherty says

    The Catholic Church is still selling its inhumane, fraudulent, malpractice scheme known as “ex-gay” therapy. So while non-Catholics may be spared, LGBT Catholics are still being intimidated into a lifetime of treatment based on shame, guilt, hopeless hope, constant prayer, un-gay wardrobes, and celibacy. When that fails (which it always does), then they are allowed to redeem their sin of being born gay by enslaving themselves to low-paying lifetime jobs as nuns or priests.