The Maryland Catholic Conference Questionnaire for General Assembly candidates no longer includes questions about marriage equality or other LGBT issues. Perhaps this reflects the very welcome tolerant attitude of Pope Francis, who inspires and gives hope to many of all faiths. I suspect that the definitive vote of the people in 2012 also played a role.
They still ask about other issues, such as abortion rights and physician-assisted suicide. with the “correct” answer being the more conservative. The Catholic Conference is also still hoping for a tax break for nonprofits that donate to private, including Catholic, schools. The Teachers Union and other public education advocates have opposed this in the past.
We’re lucky to have an excellent public school system in Montgomery but I know the Catholic school system has provided a vital alternative for many in D.C. However, I suspect that these schools would not be the major beneficiary of the proposed tax break that would take money out of the budget that could be used to fund public education.
The Catholic Conference is hoping for liberal answers on assistance for the poor and immigration. I wonder how many legislators from either party score a perfect 5 out of 5? Here is a copy of the survey:
Please mark whether you “agree” or “disagree” with each statement.
These responses will be included in the Catholic diocesan newspapers and materials distributed to the parishes. Comments following each statement are limited to 50 words or less.
These comments, along with the responses, will be included online on the newspaper websites and the Conference website, and will not be edited for grammar or spelling.
1. ASSISTANCE FOR THE POOR. Funding in Maryland’s budget to provide necessities such as food, housing, and healthcare to low-income residents of the state should be maintained at current levels, or increased where possible to accommodate increasing demand for basic services.
2. LATE-TERM ABORTION. Current Maryland law allows abortions to be performed after fetal viability in the case of fetal abnormalities, or to protect the life or health of the mother, including mental health. Maryland law should be changed to allow late-term abortions only to protect a woman from death or serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment.
3. IMMIGRATION. Maryland should not pass laws restricting the ability of undocumented immigrants to access basic necessities, such as food, shelter, driving privileges, healthcare, and education.
4. TAX CREDITS FOR EDUCATION. Maryland should enact a state income tax credit for businesses that donate to nonprofit organizations that provide financial assistance to public and nonpublic school students for educational expenses.
5. PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE. Maryland should maintain its current law prohibiting physician-assisted suicide.