Same-sex marriage (SSM) activity in Maryland
2012-FEB-14 to 17: Various reactions to the
by the House of the SSM legislation
This is a continuation from a previous essay
2012-FEB-14: Public reaction to the passage of the SSM bill by the Maryland House:
An article on the Washington Post about the approval of the SSM bill collected 2,233 comments during the first 11 hours after it was published. 1 Three randomly selected postings from a single conversation are:
"As a life-long Maryland resident surrounded by liberals since I was a kid, I am not angry at this news that men will soon be able to marry men in the state of Maryland. I am not angry that the law is asking me and my kids to treat them with respect as married couples."
"Just very, very sad. And hurt."
"This is no leap forward for human rights. It's a selfish move by activists and politicians afraid to oppose them in a warped, liberal state. This is a destruction of the beliefs of those we love and have loved our fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and every generation going back into time, who respected the institution of marriage as a joining of a man and a woman. Who loved the traditions, the stories, the jokes, the myths - all of it part of our upbringing, our very souls. ..."
"I know I speak for millions upon millions of people both today and into countless generations in the future when I say that I will never accept the marriage of two people of the same gender, just as I will never accept the murder of an innocent person, the abuse of an animal, the stealing of funds from a company to bankrupt it, or anything else that is morally reprehensible on its own merits. ..."
"The bill is not fair to the rest of us who live in this country and respect our forefathers, and it will not achieve its goals. We will not treat you with respect as married persons. Complain, accuse, get red-faced as much as you like but our children and their children's children will continue to feel in their blood that no matter one's sexual orientation, marriage is an institution is reserved solely for a man and woman only, the two parties capable of procreating."
"I can appreciate and understand your pain. It is indeed difficult to have your deeply held beliefs be called misguided and ignorant by society, your very sense of life and marriage be held up as hateful and discriminatory. It is maddening to see society progress rapidly in its' social thinking so that you are left on an increasingly small island of anti-homosexual people."
"But seriously... not judging you on whether you are justified in your beliefs or not... the simple reality is that each passing generation has become more and more accepting and even supporting of same-sex relationships. I'm 29--there's even a huge difference between teenagers now and when I graduated high school in 2000. I guarantee your children will (quietly or not) move away from your views on this issue. And your grandchildren will view you with the same loving embarrassment as I did when my grandma told me never to date a black woman. Not saying its right, or its wrong. But that is what is very likely to happen to you."
"And yeah. It will hurt. So why not look inside yourself, actually read your Bible, and see if God won't help transform your heart of stone on this issue. It will hurt a whole lot less."
"Sorry, your kids are likely to not think as you do. If you break down by age group, under 35s overwhelmingly favor (I think it's 70%ish) allowing gay marriage. By the time your kids have kids, the majority will wonder what all the fuss was about. Just like people today looking at the black civil rights movement." 1
Comments by Prof. Tod Eberly in his blog:
Todd Eberly is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at St. Mary's College of Maryland. 2 He singled out a four politicians for which he feels the vote was a strong test of character -- people who felt that approval of the SSM bill was the right thing to do, yet who may suffer politically for taking this stance:
- Delegate John Bohanan's (D) political future is in doubt because the demographic in his district is shifting towards the GOP. Yet he supported the bill, saying: "Once I began to look at this through the eyes of my own kids and other young people, it became pretty clear... You want them to have love, and if that’s how they want to express it, you want them to be able to do it openly."
- Delegate A.Wade Kach (R) broke party ranks and supported the bill. He is a staunch Republican and was one of two Republicans do so. If he and Del. Bob Costa (R) had voted against the bill, it would have failed in the Assembly, and their political rival -- Governor O'Malley -- would have suffered an embarrassing blow to his future political aspirations. But they voted for the bill. Kach gave an impassioned defense of SSM during the debates. He listened to the testimony of same-sex couples and changed his mind. He based his vote on his pro-life beliefs, saying: "As a pro-life Republican, I believe it’s my responsibility to make sure children are taken care of... If you care about children [then] vote for this bill]." See the reaction below by some Republicans to his change of heart.
- Governor Martin O'Malley (D) staked his reputation on the line by giving top priority to the SSM bill even though its passage in the Assembly was in doubt. Had it failed, he would have been viewed as a failure.
- Lt. Governor Anthony Brown (D) is an African American. In Maryland, Democrats are severely divided on SSM, with White members strongly supportive of SSM and Blacks strongly opposed. Brown may well seek to become governor in 2014. His political future might have been better served if he had simply remained silent on SSM. Even though he had no obligation to speak out, he strongly supported marriage equality. When the House passed the bill, he issued a statement saying:
"The Maryland House of Delegates has cast a historic vote in favor of stronger families, bringing us as close as Maryland has ever been to true marriage equality. When two people come together in union, regardless of gender, and commit themselves to loving and supporting one another, they deserve the privileges and the responsibilities of marriage. The Civil Marriage Protection Act is right, it’s just, and it provides the same opportunity for all who wish to marry while fully protecting religious freedoms and views." 3
2012-FEB-17: Reaction by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM):
NOM is the main national organization fighting against same-sex marriage. They issued the following news release:
"The people of Maryland will decide this issue if they have to, just as voters in 31 other states have done.”—Brian Brown, NOM President"
"Washington, DC—The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today called on the Maryland Senate to reject legislation passed by the Assembly to redefine marriage and pledged to work with allies in Maryland to qualify a referendum to the ballot giving voters the right to overturn redefining marriage if necessary."
" 'The people of Maryland do not support same-sex marriage,' said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. 'We call on the Maryland Senate to reject this legislation. Failing that, we are committed to work with allies to ensure that the people of Maryland will decide this issue just as voters in 31 other states have done, which is to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman'."
"Voters in 31 states have already voted on the definition of marriage, and in every state they have decided to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This includes deep blue states like California, Wisconsin and Maine."
" 'Legislators who vote to redefine marriage will be held accountable to their constituents,' Brown pledged. 'Those Republicans in the Assembly who abandoned principle and traded their votes will be held to account. Upwards of 80% of Republican voters oppose same-sex marriage. Democrats, too, will have to answer to their constituents, including the upwards of 70% of African Americans who oppose redefining marriage'."
"NOM and allies will continue to oppose the legislation as it heads to the Senate. Should legislation redefining marriage be signed, supporters of traditional marriage would need to collect approximately 56,000 signatures of registered voters to prevent it from taking effect until voters decide the issue at the November 2012 statewide election." 4
Brown appears to be using 2007 polling results. Since then there have been two subsequent polls showing that a majority of people of Maryland do support same-sex marriage by a steadily increasing margin.
"Mary," who opposes SSM, posted a comment to the NOM news release:
"WOW...we are going to be spread so thin...it really feels like the tide is turning against us, even though we had so many wins in the past. The 'meme' out there is that marriage is the civil rights wave of the future...it's going to get harder and harder to fight. Sad."
"Curious George" posted:
"Just think - 3 1/2 short years ago there was just 1 state (MA) that allowed all its citizens to get married to the person that they choose, regardless of the race, religion, or sex of their chosen partner.
Now we have 6 (and possibly 8). Up from 6.5 million citizens to 35 million today.
The acceptance of marriage equality has been breathtaking." 4
Discussion of this topic continues...
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- John Wagner, "Same-sex marriage bill passes Maryland House of Delegates," Washington Post, 2012-FEB-17, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
- Todd Eberly, "Same sex marriage vote was a test of character," The FreeStater Blog, 2012-FEB-19, at: http://t.co/
- "Statement from Lt. Governor Brown on House Passage of Civil Marriage Protection Act," 2012-FEB-17, at: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/
- "NOM Calls on Maryland Senate to Reject Legislation Redefining Marriage; Vows To Join With Allies To Refer Redefinition of Marriage to Maryland Voters If Necessary," news release, National Organization for Marriage, 2012-FEB-17, at: http://www.nomblog.com
Copyright © 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2012-FEB-14
Latest update: 2012-FEB-20
Author: B.A. Robinson