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Bishops advocate banning same-sex marriage in state

(ran PW, PS editions of Pasco Times)

The four Roman Catholic bishops of Massachusetts are taking their fight against same-sex marriage directly to parishioners, with a direct-mail campaign targeting nearly 1-million families.

Frustrated by what they say is a public misperception about their opposition to gay marriage, the bishops are sending a four-page flier to Catholic households asking them to lobby for a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriages.

The Legislature is expected to take up the amendment next month.

In November, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to bar gay couples from civil marriage and gave the Legislature until May to rewrite the state marriage laws to provide benefits for gay couples.

At a news conference, Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley said the high court ruling "ratifies a trend that will only harm children."

"We see our position as defending what is good for society," O'Malley said.

O'Malley was joined at the news conference by Bishop Daniel Reilly of Worcester, Bishop Thomas Dupre of Springfield and Bishop George Coleman of Fall River.

Dupre and the other prelates said that Catholic leaders have been unfairly portrayed as bigots in the media for opposing gay marriage.

"What we are doing is upholding the tradition of marriage, which has pretty much existed everywhere in the world since the beginning of civilization," he said.

A spokesman for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which brought the gay marriage case before the high court, did not return a call for comment.

_ Wire reports

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