PROBE CUTS TOO CLOSE
Catalyst May Issue 2007
Brian Brown, executive director of the Connecticut Family Institute, recently testified before some members of the Connecticut legislature. The issue was same- sex marriage.
During the questioning, Brown, known to the lawmakers as a practicing Catholic, was subjected to an improper line of inquiry. Bill Donohue sent a strongly worded letter to the entire legislative body.
Two members of the state legislature, Representative Michael Lawlor and Senator Edwin Gomes, probed Brown’s religious convictions as they pertained to the issue. While it is entirely legitimate to ask witnesses about the source of their convictions, religious or otherwise, a line has been crossed when the questions become personal, intrusive and persistent. “Separation of church and state, it needs to be stressed, cuts both ways: Just as it would be illegitimate of me to ask Rep. Lawlor and Sen. Gomes to go on record explaining their personal convictions about the wisdom of Catholic teachings, it is equally illegitimate of them to pepper expert witnesses about their private beliefs,” Donohue said.
Donohue concluded saying that “if this continues, my response next time will not be in the form of a letter.”