What made Lawrence's presentation of his view more remarkable was that it was preceded by his reading the letter written by Lori, who as archbishop oversees Lawrence, urging the congregation of the importance of opposing the referendum in Maryland on Nov. 6 over the marriage equality bill passed and signed into law earlier this year. Lori told all parishioners in the letter, read by Lawrence, that they faced "the momentous choice of whether to maintain marriage as the union of one man and one woman in Maryland, or to irrevocably dismantle our state's legal recognition of the most basic unit of our society — the family unit of mother, father and child."
Lawrence, after finishing the archbishop's letter, then told the congregation of his views and asked them, "[C]ould not civil law be allowed to progress where church law cannot go, at least not yet? Personally, I believe that it can and that it should."
He concluded: "So there you have it: the official teaching of the church and my personal reflections."
According to the Catholic Reporter's Arthur Jones, the parishioners gave Lawrence a standing ovation.