.- In anticipation of a vote in the state Legislature on a constitutional amendment regarding same-sex marriage Feb. 11, the state's Roman Catholic Church began a direct-mail campaign last week, encouraging Catholics to take action.
The direct-mail campaign was sponsored by the stateâs four Roman Catholic bishops and the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the Churchâs political advocacy arm. The flier suggests three actions: visiting legislators, calling them, and writing them a letter or e-mail.
The four-page fliers, mailed out Jan. 16 to almost one million Catholic Massachusetts families, also explain the bishopsâ position in the same-sex marriage debate. The bishops said they have been misrepresented in the media as bigots and wished to clarify their position.
At a news conference that same day, Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley said the Supreme Judicial Courtâs November decision, which ruled that barring same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, "ratifies a trend that will only harm children," reported the Associated Press.
The archbishop said the bishops believe their position defends âwhat is good for society.â Same-sex marriage, he argued, will have the same harmful effects on the traditional family in the long run as the increase in divorce and co-habitating couples.
The stateâs other bishops â Bishops Daniel Reilly of Worcester, Thomas Dupre of Springfield and George Coleman of Fall River â also attended the news conference.
The AP said Bishop Dupre called the courtâs ruling "a radical court decision" that has been used by same-sex marriage advocates as a "means of coercing the public."
"What we are doing is upholding the tradition of marriage, which has pretty much existed everywhere in the world since the beginning of civilization," said Bishop Dupre, reported the AP.
The Massachusetts Catholic Conference is also urging people to attend three pro-marriage rallies planned for Jan. 25 in Fall River, Springfield and Worcester.