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Catholic Supporters Of Same-Sex Marriage Gather To Discuss Issue

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The debate of same-sex marriage gets emotional. Tuesday, parents with gay children spoke out, seeking support despite religious conflict.

Adam May has reaction from all sides.

The referendum is just three months away. Supporters of marriage equality are trying to win over a critical group of undecided voters: Catholics.

Many Maryland Catholics find themselves at odds with their church over same-sex marriage.

“Each life, whether son or daughter, is precious and they deserve a full life, including marriage,” said Jenny Nugent.

Catholic parents with gay children are now urging voters to approve marriage equality this November. They’re supported by high-profile Catholics like former Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

“Marriage equality is really consistent with what the Catholic Church over 2,000 years has tried to teach,” she said.

The Archdiocese doesn’t see it that way.

“For someone to claim to be espousing church teaching when they don’t have the authority to do it, there’s always the risk people will be confused,” said Sean Caine, Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The new archbishop made same-sex marriage a key issue during his recent installation.

“And to uphold the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman,” he said.

Catholics will be a major factor in the state referendum. Support is split, with 14 percent still undecided, according to a recent poll.

“While I would certainly prefer my church recognize same-sex couples, the legislation’s referendum doesn’t impose anything on the Catholic Church or any other,” said City Councilman Bill Cole.

Erma Durkin also has a gay son. She considers the issue one of religious freedom.

“What churches decide to do, what marriage they solemnize, is up to them,” Durkin said.

The most recent poll shows marriage equality winning by 14 points.

“I think it will make history,” Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said.

Despite the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex unions, the Archdiocese says they will not contribute any money to the political campaign against it.

Economists estimate same-sex weddings could boost Maryland’s economy by $90 million a year.

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