"I trust that those who voted for such a radical change did so out of concern for our brothers and sisters who struggle with same-sex attraction," the bishop said in a Nov. 7 statement.
"Respect and acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation is not a point of controversy," he noted. "It is a teaching of the Church, but so is the authentic meaning and definition of marriage."
The Church remains committed to both respect for basic human rights and the preservation of marriage, Bishop Malone stressed.
A "same-sex marriage" referendum was narrowly approved by Maryland voters, passing by a 52-48 percent margin, with 99 percent of precincts tallied.
State legislators had already passed a bill to legalize "same-sex marriage" in March 2012. However, an amendment added to the law to make it successful in the legislature delayed it from taking effect until Jan. 2013, allowing time for marriage defenders to put the issue up for a vote on the November ballot.
Among the referendum's strongest critics were African American leaders, who rallied their communities in opposition to the measure in recent weeks, narrowing the gap of support in the polls.
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore has warned that a redefinition of marriage threatens the religious freedom of Catholic individuals and organizations who disagree with changing the meaning of the fundamental social institution.
"Regrettably, Marylanders decided by the narrowest of margins not to repeal the law that redefines marriage," a Nov. 7statement from the Maryland Catholic Conference said.
"The ballot language they encountered masked the fact that this law does not simply assign civil benefits to gay and lesbian couples, but drastically dismantles in our state law the fundamental family unit of mother, father and child," the group noted.
Its members said that they will work vigilantly to ensure that the freedom of religious institutions is upheld as the law goes into effect on Jan. 1.
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In Minnesota, voters rejected a constitutional amendment to limit marriage to the union of one man and one woman. This definition of marriage is currently reflected in state law, but the proposed amendment would have reaffirmed it in the state's constitution.
The amendment was narrowly defeated by a 51-48 margin, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Jim Accurso, manager of media and public relations for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, explained that while the amendment's defeat is "a very serious concern," it will not prevent the Church from pursuing the common good and serving the community.
In a Nov. 7 statement, Accurso explained that the Church's defense of marriage is motivated by an understanding that "the good of society is best served by maintaining the traditional understanding of marriage as a union between one man and one woman."
It is this same common good that is pursued when the Church seeks "economic justice, healthcare and immigration reform, and the defense of human life and dignity from conception to natural death," he said, reaffirming the archdiocese's commitment to support these principles and strengthen marriage in the future.