Maryland has approved marriage equality. It will, predictably, go to the voters for a MD-version of Prop8, the outcome of which is unclear. What we do know is that it will be hard fought.
Two Episcopal Bishops have immediately responded by approving marriages between same sex couples in their churches. (Read more here). Now THAT is religious freedom.
The Roman Catholic bishops of course by contrast are passionate opponents of marriage equality. Indeed, they are passionate opponents of gay people generally.
Two recent stories (H/T Madpriest) highlight their opposition. Both feature gay people who were not bringing their sexuality into the church in any political way…but were not "suitably closeted" and were punished simply for being.
In one story, a Catholic priest refused Communion to a lesbian woman at her mother's funeral. The woman and her family are shocked and deeply hurt. I believe that RC policy is that Communion is not to be used as a weapon in a public manner--and the woman was not making an issue of her sexuality.
In a second story, a teacher has been fired for getting married to his male partner. (Apparently they had no problem with him "living in sin". ) He wrote a very well-worded letter asking his supporters not to politicize this.
The gay individuals involved are people of far more grace than certain clergy. The Roman Church comes across very badly.
I hate to say it, but a welcoming Episcopal church really needs to step forward as the Catholic alternative when this kind of thing happens.