I recently prepared a summary of an attempt by the D.C. Council to accommodate objections by the Archdiocese of Washington to its proposed marriage-equality law (last revised on November 10th). Blogger Martin Austermuhle questions whether Archbishop Donald Wuerl is prepared for a compromise of the kind that D.C. Council members David Catania and Phil Mendelson have suggested to Wuerl. Wuerl appeared to Austermule to have sounded a conciliatory tone in his November 17th Washington Post editorial, although a coalition of advocacy organizations have called Wuerl's arguments in the editorial "defective." At any rate, Austermuhle says,
only a day later, Wuerl appeared at a press conference announcing the Manhattan Declaration, an ecumenical statement outlining Christian opposition to same-sex marriage and threatening civil disobedience to any laws legalizing it. "[Nor] will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family," stated the declaration.Until now I have reserved judgment on the controversial Manhattan Declaration, whose signers include Alliance Defense Fund President, Alan Sears. I would welcome reader comment on its implications for marriage-equality legislation and litigation. It appears not just likely, but intended to portray marriage equality as a grave threat to religious liberty. Some social conservatives, such as David Blankenhorn, acknowledge that the marriage-equality movement has made sufficient progress to warrant a compromise over perceived conflicts with religious liberty. Far from making any such concession, the Manhattan Declaration's signers expect to rely on the alleged conflict as a continuing means of undermining public support for marriage equality - a strategy that has succeeded in California's Yes on 8 and Maine's Yes on Question 1 campaigns.