Churches At The Center Of Md. Same-Sex Marriage Debate

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Last week’s Senate approval of the state’s same-sex marriage bill marked another victory for supporters. But the campaign to give the last say to voters is underway.

As Gigi Barnett reports, churches may be at the center of the fray.

Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill has passed two major hurdles–the House and Senate.

Now it’s primed for the governor’s signature. But after that the battle to get the issue in front of voters is already underway, and churches may be at the forefront of the campaign.

“The word marriage is what we’re all not liking,” said Phyllis Walstrum.

Many members at St. Alphonsus Shrine in Baltimore are against the same-sex marriage bill. Parishioners like Phyllis Walstrom and Alice Charnasky aren’t against equal rights, but they believe that only traditional unions should be called “marriage.” And they fear most voters don’t see it that way.

“In today’s world, they will probably go the other way… Not my way,” said Charnasky.

“We’ve been waiting a long time,” said Kathleen Flayhive.

At First Unitarian Church in Baltimore, the service is about to start. Most members support the bill. Long-time partners Kathleen Flayhive and Julie Ferguson celebrated when it passed, but know that the fight isn’t over.

“I have so much faith that our dream of my 87-year-old mom walking us down the aisle will come true,” said Flayhive. “One day.”

If the measure reaches the ballot, voters will decide in November.

More from Gigi Barnett
  • Churches At The Center Of Md. Same-Sex Marriage Debate | Baltimore Christian Radio

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  • Jennifer

    The church needs to show up for this important issue. If we are truly relevant for today we should make a difference by defeating same-sex marriage.

    • James Tibbs

      I thought sodomy was illegal. In my opinion, gay marriage promotes sodomy, and sexual abuse. Go figure.

    • Ask yourself

      What would Jesus do?

      • Daniel

        Reject Same sex marriage. duh… and then tell them to sin no more.

  • wheres common sense when you need it

    Go away.

  • Another take

    Let the voters decide.

  • Richard

    I have never heard so much hate coming from church going folks.

    Jesus would not approve of the church dening equality nor while I.

    • Mike Calo

      Funny how people who are going 100% AGAINST what God said (ever hear of Lot and the ciities of Sodom and Gommorah? Didn’t think so.) are telling those of us who READ the Bible what Jesus would have done..

  • Enlightened

    Keep your idiotic religion to yourself. Not only are “Christians” the world’s biggest hypocrites, they expect everyone else to cater to their bizarre book of fairy tales full of incest, rape, torture, and murder sanctioned by “God”. You have your freedom of religion – let everyone have freedom FROM it.

    • Mike Calo

      A lot of vitrol from someone so “enlightened”.

    • Concerned

      You are far from being enlightened. God does not condone any sin, much less sanction it. If you want to learn what God is about, I suggest you read and study the bible in depth. Then maybe you can understand about God.

      • Enlightened

        I am indeed enlightened – that happened when I woke up and realized what a total crock of BS I was raised on. I’ve read the Bible (obviously you really haven’t, or have picked out just the ‘cuddly’ parts and conveniently ignore the rest, like most “Christians”). I used to be a churchgoer, and then I learned to think for myself. Religion is one of the worst things mankind has ever come up with. The damage, death, and misery it has wrought throughout the centuries is absolutely staggering. So like I said, keep your idiotic religion to yourself. Believe what you want, but keep it out of other peoples’ lives. Religion is all about control, and you have NO business trying to control other people, and you especially have no business trying to prevent EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL HUMAN BEINGS just because you’re brainwashed by the cult of religion.

      • D King

        touché Enlightened

    • Gerry P

      My friend, when you insult God like that, He certainly will oblige you and avoid you like a plague. It will not matter how many times you read the Scriptures, or the writings of holy people, etc., the truth of it all will constantly elude you if you keep holding up such arrogant claims. The Scriptures contains firmly, faithfully and without error “that truth” which God intended for our salvation. The individual facts are NOT that truth. It is a whole. That is an irrevocable fact. It remains up to all of us to conform to that truth if our lives are to mean anything beyond this blob of organic encrusted dust. Certainly the Bible is full of a lot of horrid stuff, and that is so that evil can be seen as it is–ugly, very ugly–while at the same time one might be drawn to the beauty of truth, which in Christ Jesus, became incarnate. I am akin to that beauty because it is the only thing that can satisfy a human being.

      • Gerry P

        I do not believe in a “god” (small g). I believe in God. Cut the insults or I will have no reason to listen to you. I did get a chuckle out of the last comment though. It was quite absurd and I am a master of absurdity in the context of humor. I find that quoting comment after comment to be quite boorish especially in a society with tons of information running around but little knowledge and practically no wisdom.
        Maybe you should quote some of the racist comments of Margaret Sanger and the racist folk she hung out with. Quite ugly. But THAT indeed is the point. There is a lot of ugliness in the world. Natural stuff, well, that will take care of itself. It is the purposely done MORAL evil that is the disgusting stuff. A tree falls and kills someone and we hurt, badly, but it is not the same as someone cutting down a tree on someone else just to kill them. But there is a God who is Existence Itself and he has created this world in a manner we cannot in our puny minds figure out. He has imposed hope upon it but at a price. It requires a little self-abnegation (AKA humility). God is no fool, and if anyone continuously insults Him, He will be pleased to graciously ignore them. Have you ever heard the adage “as you judge, so will you be judged”? I understand the difficulties in believing in God. I’ve been there and done it. Cut the nonsense and accept the good will of those who do believe. Even if it were only this life, it would be a consolation knowing that even in this messed up world there is a God who cares. But knowing that there is MORE than a chance of a blessed afterlife… We believe in other less important things like the angry words of other people we quote without having their experiences so how hard can it be in at least some minuscule manner to believe in God BECAUSE many GOOD people have. I am NOT referring to charlatans and people who take on the FORM of religion all the while denying its power however.

      • Mike Calo


      • Enlightened

        These summarize nicely:
        “It’s an incredible con job when you think about it, to believe something now in exchange for something after death. Even corporations with their reward systems don’t try to make it posthumous.” — Gloria Steinem
        “Any deity who can be credited with and thanked for something as mundane as catching the bus on time or scoring a touchdown but simultaneously allows millions of innocent children to starve to death isn’t worthy of worship or attention.”– Tamara Mason
        “You’re allowed to believe in a god. You’re allowed to believe unicorns live in your shoes for all I care. But the day you start telling me how to wear my shoes so I don’t upset the unicorns, I have a problem with you. The day you start involving the unicorns in making decisions for this country, I have a BIG problem with you.”– Matthew Schultz

  • Richard

    When DC allowed gay marriage the world did not stop, the world did not end and the heavens did not open up and sing their disappointment. Marriage belongs to no one not even the church.



    • Mike Calo

      WWGirl – I see you are so confident in your position that you selected CANCEL REPLY so no one could talk directly to you. HI THERE!! ::-) True, the Bible says all men are sinners (actually it says “all men are sinners and fall short of the grace of God”). That’s why we proclaim faith in Jesus Christ, so that the blood he shed will act as a veil through which God will see our sins – and he will not see them because Jesus has made the final blood sacrifice for all mankind – well, those of us who accept Him., and once we have accepted salvation, we cannot be torn from Go’s hand.

      BTW – you didn’t have to tell us you are an aetheist – your first paragraph made it glaringly obvious.

    • Gerry P

      Yes they did. When the Church speaks in terms of faith and morals, it is heaven speaking and singing to the glory of God. I wonder who IS and is NOT listening?

      • Gerry P

        Please, your ignorance of theology is disgusting. The Scriptures often speak in allegorical terms. The mystery of Adam and Eve is that in some primordial manner God was rebelled against by the whole human race and that curse became part of what is called our “fallen nature”. To populate the earth I guess they did like we did. They married, had babies and moved around. Does that make sense?
        Incest is NEVER OK. It carries with it severe moral penalties. That there are instances of such that leave innocent people suffering horribly and crying out for deep healing and sometimes vengeance is part of the overwhelming sadness of the human venture.
        Gays have the same rights as everybody else–to marry a person of the opposite sex in the manner consistent with human nature. Hey, by the way, I have not revealed and will not reveal my own sexual orientation. I take it with its weaknesses and apply the natural law to it, often in spite of itself. My “morality” is not mine. It is indelibly implanted on human nature. Without it there would be no human beings, no love, no compassion. In fact, that is the very root of us having this discussion. I do not believe in canonizing the faults of my broken human nature, nether anyone else’s. The Church has exclusive interpretive rights in matters of faith and morals. I have the free will to accept it or reject it with full consequences. I know it and am responsible for it.

      • Enlightened

        Morals? Adam and Eve were, according to the Bible, the first man and woman. How did they populate the planet? Their kids had to be having sex with each other and possibly with their parents, because there was no one else around. So incest is ok, but gays having equal rights is not?
        Your “morality” needs some work.

      • VWGirl

        You really believe that there is this guy who watches over you and listens to your stupid prayers. Get a clue. You are brainwashed obviously. You believe a fictional story. And “Enlightened is Right”….if you actually read the bible, its terrible. In the eyes of the lord we are all sinners according to the bible. EVEN” YOU ARE!!!! I mean unless you have never shaved or cut your hair. just to namee one of the sins that almost every single person on earth has committed according to the bible.

        Also Adults who believe in God and Jesus are just as naive as children believing in Santa and The North Pole.

        Stories…thank god my parents never made me part of this sick religion AKA Cult. Thanks Mom and Dad. I am atheist so I dont care what you say. I am not going to Hell for what I have said or what I do and do not believe in because I do not believe in Hell. or Heaven….silly me for not believing in a place where the “Streets are paved with gold” or where a woman was created by one mans rib?, o wait or that a guy names Noah loaded up an ark with 2 of each animal species. Wow was he floating around in a zoo or what.

        I think I might need to go get a pop up book for this…just for childhood memories of fictional tales:)

        For real you dont feel like an idiot believing in that?

  • steve

    F@@c gays! Keep it in your bedroom

    • Enlightened

      “F@@c gays! ” — Go right ahead, if you can find one who will have you. It’s safe to come out of the closet now, Steve.

    • ashley

      Really?? What are you in high school still??? Grow up!! Thanks

    • D King

      steve — Thank you for your well thought out and intelligent contribution. [rolls eyes]

  • GM

    They should allow only civil unions not religious weddings for gays. NO minister or priest should marry them. Just let them go to a couthouse and get it over with, not using God in any of it. Then they can have equal rights legally. That way, everyone should be ok with it.

    • A voice

      But that’s the compromise with this bill! It failed last year because people feared that churches would be forced to perform a marriage that they don’t believe it. Now, it specifically states in the bill that was just passed that churches can NOT be forced to perform the marriages if they don’t want to! I think its a perfect example of separation of church and state. The church can’t use their doctrines to influence governmental policies and the government can’t step in and make churches do things that are against the church’s beliefs. Its a win/win for everyone!

      • JJ

        Ricci, that property was a rental property. If a church is running a public business it has to follow the same laws that all other public businesses do.
        If it were a non-profit property then they would have been able to turn them down legally.

      • Ricci Adams

        There has already been a federal lawsuite, regarding sea side property in New Jersey owned by the United Methodist Church who would hold weddings and other religous events at this location. A gay couple wanted to get Married there. The United Methodist Church refussed the wedding based on its religious belief. TheNew Jersey law also indicated that churches had a right to refuse to participate in gay weddings. The US federal court of appeals ruled in favor of the gay couple.

  • Ricci Adams

    Why not have state civil unions for all people str8 or gay and leave the sacrement of Marrage to the Church.

    The problem is that now Churches may be forced to marry individuals who the church does not want to marry. There has already been a federal lawsuite, regarding sea side property in New Jersey owned by the United Methodist Church who would hold weddings and other religous events at this location. A gay couple wanted to get Married there. The United Methodist Church refussed the wedding based on its religious belief. TheNew Jersey law also indicated that churches had a right to refuse to participate in gay weddings. The US federal court of appeals ruled in favor of the gay couple. Let the state do what it wants with Civil unions, but keep the sacrement of Marrage within the Church.

    • D King

      Good grief Ricci, how many times are you going to post the SAME THING?? You’ve made basically this same post multiple times in every comment thread on this topic. And what makes it even more annoying is that you can’t spell worth a damn.

      • Ricci Adams

        D. King that is the rub. New Jersey indicated that churches could refuse gay weddings; however, the federal courts indicated that that was discrimination. I

      • D King

        Ricci, what a bunch of mumbo jumbo. The only thing I can decipher is that you don’t want the courts to be able to force churches to perform marriages that are against their principles. It is my understanding that this bill includes language that allows for churches to not have to marry same-sex couples if it is objectionable to them.

      • Ricci Adams

        D King you fear my message for you see the truth in it and you cannot argue against. So unless you can refute my point turn knock the message. I am not against gay marrage, I am against the courts dictating what sacrements religious institutes must perform.

  • beth

    as a member of the gay community yes i would settle for a CU if it ment that my wife would get the same rights as a married person if something were to happen to me.

    • Ricci Adams

      Beth, I hope you can get married. I want all people to be issued CUs by the state. Churches should have the choice of who they want to perform Marrage Services for. I cannot imaging any body would want to be married by an church which preaches the individuals existance is a sin. Perhaps one day the churches all will evolve.

  • beth

    and for those of you against gays what is the big issue that you have with us really , we go to work just like you, pay taxes just like you, pay bills. all the same as you do. so whats the big deal. arent you suppose to do in life what makes you happy. what would you do if your child came to you and said mom dad i am gay would you hate them. and instead of sitting around worry about who someone wants to marry, why arent you worried about the tax your about to pay on gas. or the fact that money you pay out pays for illgeal people to live here. seems to me like you have nothing better to do.

    • Mike Calo

      “aren’t you supposed to do in life what makes you happy?”? Suppose robing banks makes you happy? Suppose stealing newspapers from the supermarket makes you happy? When does making yourself happy end and caring about what other people think about what makes you happy?

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  • Straight not Narrow

    I am Catholic. Marriage has long been a Sacrament of the Church. However, the hypocrisy of allowing Athesist and Agnostic to get “married” but not allow Gays to get “married” is terrible especially if they believe in God. No one is forcing the Church to perform the service, however if the govenrment tries to force the Church to do that then we have a different issue. The Church can not dictate the way of life for people that do not believe and the government needs to remain neutral. Gay Marriage does not affect me as a Catholic and therefore I do not need to meddle in anyone else life.

    • Gerry P

      Here is the problem with your comment. Thank you for the comment. The natural law is written on human nature. It cannot be altered or revoked. It applies to every human being. No one can change it. It is the right of every human being to marry a chosen person of the opposite sex. Common law cohabitation is justified only by the consent of individuals in it. It can or cannot have the sanctioning of societies in legal form. That sanctioning is for the protection of societies for the raising and protection of children. To subject children to an inhuman institution in my opinion is nothing but the most horrid form of child abuse possible, that of not letting them know the beauty of their human nature. Even in its natural form, it has a deep beauty to it. Monosexual marriage cannot have this beauty. It weighs heavily on society.
      You publicly call yourself Catholic. I can point you to fringe groups that even have an apostolic succession and push around a shopping cart neatly packed with what they want to believe and do, but that would be vain. Without faith and the sacrament of baptism, one CANNOT be married sacramentally. It is impossible. To attempt such is a self-destructive act. You are mixing peaches with stones here. Enough of this. Gay marriage does indeed affect you as a Catholic. You have the responsibility of exposing yourself and any posterity you may develop to a world where they can as clearly as possible know the love of God. To willfully teach or profess contrary to that which the Church teaches puts you outside of the reach of grace. That is enough of this. You have the teachings of the Church to guide you if you want to partake of its blessings. I am not the catechism.

      • Straight not Narrow

        So what should we do with those that do not beleive in God? How about a good old fashioned stoning, I ll let you cast the first stone. The Church can not dictate how anyone lives other than their believers, the United States is founded on that principle. I have attained grace becasue I embrace and love all, I live like Jesus. My beliefs are my own and I will not impose them on anyone else.

      • Gerry P

        Sorry, I’ll have to pass on the stone thing. I have terrible arthritis in my shoulders and hands and such is not possible for me. If you believe in recycling, however, you may take one of those embedded in my brow and toss it at me. Be real. There is a strong human move against capital punishment on all sides.
        One cannot attain grace by embracing and loving all. Grace is unmerited good and if you earn it it is not grace. Take it from the plethora of saints, for example St. Francis of Assisi who said he possessed nothing of his own except for his sins and weaknesses. I will take it to mean that you attempt to be civil to all and that is a good thing. Your beliefs as a Catholic are public and there will come a time when God Himself will impose them on all. God knows that private world of conscience in all of us and He knows that it can easily be in error. That is why it is private. It is there that God speaks directly to us and we by our fallen nature are a bit hard of hearing. Remember hos Jesus lived. He loved, healed, forgave and said: “Go and sin no more.” If you think that I am presuming in any way to say that I have never cast a few first stones, that is wrong. I suffer from the same duplicity that all human beings do. I admit it and take the proper remedy, sometimes bitter medicine. Thanks for your comments.

      • sherry

        I can raise my own children I don’t need society to raise my children, that is the problem now too many people want everyone else to raise their children. My god loves everyone, and accepts everyone for who they are regardless of race, or sexualtiy. My child knowing that if he or she would end up being gay and still being loved by his or her parents is not child abuse… not loving my child becuase of their sexuality is. I believe in God, I am an over zealous religious nut, but I believe in god and in the bible it states everyone are sinners, those who accept Jesus and god in their hearts will be forgiven.. So if gay people love god and jesus, what is the problem. You are preaching hate against people who have done nothing to you or your relgion, you are saying that human nature ca’t be altered well apparently it is or there wouldn’t even be a need for this.. Deal with it.

      • Gerry P

        Sherry, perhaps you should tell this to the gay men I helped who were dying of AIDS.
        I need society to raise my children. Society provides clear roads so I can get to work, shopping centers so I can clothe and feed them, etc.
        The moral infrastructure of society is more important for its order than the physical infrastructure.

    • hahaha

      If you believe that it will stop here you are wrong Any church or institution not performing gay marriage will be sue. These people will see to it

      • Gerry P

        Ah, the glory of persecution. What we need are ore martyrs.


    Did you know the state of Maryland currently has marriage reciprocity? If a same sex couple is legally married in another state that marriage is and has been recognized in Maryland for several years (up to ten). All this fuss and all the dollars that are about to be spent and wasted funding or fighting a referrendum ignores that married same sex couples are already an integral part of the state, and that they are already legally married in the eyes of the law here. That glaring detail won’t change if the bill is voted down in November by referrendum either. Referrendums don’t create new laws. The civil marriage law would simply revert to the way it is today- marriage reciprocity would still be in place. The plain fact is if same sex couples want to be married and are denied by our state, they will simply go to where it is legal and return. It only means civil marriages won’t happen here in our own state. I am amazed that people could actually believe their church will be forced to perform a service or rent its spaces for a same sex marriage it does not support. Clearly some folks in this string didn’t actually read the bill. Catholics today aren’t forced to marry an opposite sex couple where one is catholic and one a protestant. Churches certainly won’t be forced to marry anyone as a result of the bill. There are very clear protections for churches, their institutions, and their tax exempt status in the Civil Marriage bill. Also of note: New Jersey doesn’t have same sex marriage. Their governor vetoed it less than two weeks ago.

    • Gerry P

      Comment one.
      No kidding.
      Comment 2 on the so-called marriage reciprocity, and my final one: “LOOK!!! THE KING HAS NO CLOTHES ON!” Yes, I HAVE read Rydyard Kipling’s “IF”.

  • Jessica Ward

    i am sure that any judge would overturn a vote by the people that is keeping civil rights from a minority group . . .

    • Gerry P

      …And I am certain that they would illegally legislate from the bench again if we allow them to. Psychopaths are a minority, about 1% of the population. Society keeps rights from them too. It is possible that they may even have a pre-disposition to psychopathology. Just because someone is of a “minority” there is no justification to give them rights that are contrary to the natural law, which is that law irrevocably ingrained in human nature that makes a human being to be a human being. Apart from adherence to that dogmatic law, a human being is no more than a dangerous intelligent animal…

      • D King

        “no more than a dangerous intelligent animal” EXACTLY my impression of you.

      • Gerry P

        Yo D King… So much for first impressions!

  • sherry

    I have a larger problem with the gas tax, paying for illegal immigrants and people abusing welfare and social security then I EVER will with people who want to marry someone of the same sex.

    • hahaha

      Sherry abusing social security? I believe people worked and paid into this.

  • deltasweetiepi

    Abomination is exactly what same sex marriage, relationships, etc are. God said it and I believe it….it is an abomination. God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

    • Equality

      Ok, so assuming your god made Adam and Eve, and they produced Cain and Able who then grew up and married and begot children of their own. Someone want to explain where the wives for Cain and Able came from? There was no creation story for their wives, or for their children’s future spouses. This leads to the rather logical conclusion that either A. incest or B. their were other people who were simply not created by god.

      Now, lets continue on down the line a bit and we get to Noah. According to the mythology, Noah was instructed to build an ark and put two of each animal on board along with his family as the rest of the world would be wiped out as it was so vile and wicked. Again, we have two logical conclusions that either A. incest all around, animal and human (which surprising would explain a lot) or B. they seriously exaggerated the whole world being destroyed aspect.

      Even assuming you believe the bible you have to recognize that it is written by the hand of man and by that very nature it is flawed. It has been translated, rewritten and rearranged more than any other book. It is interpreted by different sects and contradicts it’s self many times over.

      Getting yourself all worked up and saying someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like being mad at someone for eating a doughnut because you’re on a diet

      • D King

        “Getting yourself all worked up and saying someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like being mad at someone for eating a doughnut because you’re on a diet”

        LOL – love it

  • I am astounded.

    Oh, what even? GIVE ME ONE SECULAR REASON WHY SAME SEX MARRIAGE IS WRONG AND SHOULD REMAIN ILLEGAL. And by secular, I mean, leave God out of your argument

    • JJ

      Good luck getting an answer, I am. I have been asking the same question, but still no answer.

    • Dan Goff

      You won’t get an answer by any bible thumper out there so let’s stay strong and prepare for the legal challenge that eventually awaits.

      • hahaha

        You got that right The power is in the numbers

  • Ernie

    “Phyllis Walstrum” or “Phyllis Walstrom” which one is it? Pick one WJZ.

  • tylerjake

    While everyone bickers over this, O’Malley and the DEMO’s are raising the gas taxes on top of what we’re already paying! HELLO, everyone WAKE UP!

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