Maine church leaders split on Calif. gay marriage decision

Posted Aug. 05, 2010, at 4:09 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine church leaders are divided on a judge’s decision to strike down California’s same-sex marriage ban.

Wednesday’s ruling affects only California but gay marriage supporters and opponents nationally are following the case closely.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland calls it “an insult to the millions of California residents” who voted to keep the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Diocese spokesman Marc Mutty says he anticipates the California judge’s decision will go to the U.S. Supreme Court after appeals.

Maine’s Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, with membership from 18 religious groups, praises the decision. Rev. Elsa Peters says it “honors the constitutional right of clergy and religious communities to solemnize same-sex marriages.”