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Bishops’ letter urges vote on marriage amendment

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BOSTON -- In a letter sent individually to state legislators Dec. 21, the four bishops of Massachusetts urged the lawmakers to bring the marriage amendment to a vote on Jan. 2.

Legislators have twice delayed the vote by recessing the joint session of the state Legislature. The next meeting of the constitutional convention is scheduled for Jan. 2, the final day of the legislative session, at 2 p.m. Traditional marriage supporters, including the coalition behind the citizens initiative VoteOnMarriage.org, will gather outside the Statehouse on Jan. 2 at 11 a.m.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston as well as the bishops from the dioceses of Fall River, Springfield and Worcester said in the letter that legislators, who have sworn to uphold the state constitution, have an obligation to vote.

Not doing so will deny many voters the opportunity to have their voices heard, they said.

“Some legislators seek to use procedural maneuvers to avoid voting on the marriage amendment in order to silence the debate,” they said. “Those who support the consensus definition of marriage as the union of man and woman are being told that their views are not worthy in Massachusetts.”

Edward Saunders, director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, added in an interview with The Pilot on Dec. 19 that the legislators are “trying to derail the democratic process.”

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