PORTLAND, Maine -- Faced with a second referendum on same-sex marriage in three years, the Diocese of Portland will focus its efforts this time on education rather than contributing money or its name to a political campaign.
"We learned the last time around that we need to do a lot more effective teaching" about the nature of marriage as a union of a man and a woman, said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland at a March 2 news conference.
In November 2009, by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent, Maine voters repealed a law allowing same-sex marriage in the state. Supporters of same-sex marriage have gathered enough signatures to place the issue before the voters again Nov. 6.
At the news conference, Malone made public a 22-page pastoral letter titled "Marriage: Yesterday, Today, Always," which he said will be "at the heart of our response" to current challenges facing the institution of marriage.
He said in 2009, the diocese had supported the repeal campaign through television ads and by holding a special collection at Masses. In addition, Malone said he sent an appeal for contributions to nearly every U.S. bishop.