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The Roman Catholic ordinaries of the Archdiocese of Boston, and the dioceses of Fall River, Springfield and Worcester, while attending the meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, issued the following statement Nov. 14 in response to the Nov. 9 recess vote of the Massachusetts General Court, delaying action on the proposed Marriage Amendment.
We are deeply disturbed by the failure of the state Legislature to take up the Marriage Amendment that 170,000 citizens petitioned to put on the 2008 ballot. The effort to silence the people through inaction and delay has no place in a democracy. While recognizing that individuals have differing opinions on the marriage issue, we have always asked the Legislature to let the people exercise their right to vote.
The 87 legislators who opposed the motion to recess in the latest constitutional convention deserve our thanks. They sought to fulfill their constitutional duty to vote on whether to move the Marriage Amendment forward.
Citizens of this Commonwealth have exercised their right to initiate the petition process afforded to them by our state constitution, and they have complied with the law at every step. They also deserve our thanks for participating in the arduous task of democracy by collecting signatures and contacting their legislators.
Our public servants have no less of an obligation to follow the law by bringing the Marriage Amendment to a legislative vote. Thus, we are profoundly disappointed with the conduct of those elected officials who, by voting to recess until the last day of the session, are obstructing the constitutional right of the people to be heard.
Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Boston.
Most Rev. George W. Coleman, Bishop, Diocese of Fall River.
Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, Bishop, Diocese of Springfield.
Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop, Diocese of Worcester.