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Maryland Clergy Members Urge Voters To Support Same-Sex Marriage

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland clergy members are split over same-sex marriage. A group of religious leaders urges voters to vote yes on Question 6.

But as political reporter Pat Warren explains, opponents move forward with ammunition against it.

The suspension of the Gallaudet diversity officer who signed the petition to put same-sex marriage to a vote in November has ramped up the campaign for traditional marriage.

"They promised us Question 6 protects people who oppose gay marriage, but it doesn't," a Maryland Marriage Alliance ad says.

The ad presents Dr. Angela McCaskill's suspension as an example of the fallout they say voters can expect if the same-sex marriage law is approved.

"That ad tells people there are absolute consequences to this bill. They're already seeing that their ability to speak out in the public square will be threatened," said Derek McCoy, Maryland Marriage Alliance.

Members of the clergy representing various denominations made a case for same-sex marriage in two news conferences in Baltimore on Thursday.

The same-sex marriage bill signed in March of this year and petitioned to referendum by nearly 200,000 voters was written to include protections for religion while allowing same-sex couples to marry.

"Look, we all have a right to disagree, but being an American I believe it's about making more room for others, not less," said Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg, Beth Am Synagogue.

"The last few weeks have been a tremendously horrific time for myself and my family," McCaskill said at a news conference.

Same-sex supporters have protested the action taken against McCaskill and insist that no one will be forced to accept same-sex marriage.

"There's nothing in this law that would force you as a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker to force you to do something against your will," said Rev. John Deckenback, United Church of Christ. "Same as there's nothing in this bill that would force me as a pastor to perform anyone's wedding."

"You have so many instances right now that absolutely say all those folks are at risk and are in jeopardy if this bill passes," McCoy said.

Maryland is one of four states deciding same-sex marriage laws this election year, and it could be the first to approve it by ballot.

Maine, Minnesota and Washington are the three other states voting on same-sex marriage in November.

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