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Maryland Legislator Calls Anti-Gay Bluff

Timothy Kincaid

February 5th, 2008

maryland.jpgThe main argument against allowing gay couples the same civil benefits and obligations as hetero couples is that “Marriage is a Religious Institution”.

So State Sen. Jamie B. Raskin proposed legislation that would entrench just such a notion. The state would cease to recognize marriages at all and replace them with domestic partnerships that would be open to both gay and straight couples. The if you wanted to “respect a religious institution” and get married you could do so in a religious place, your church. The Washington Post reports:

Under their proposal, all couples — straight or gay — would be on equal footing with secular unions. Religious marriage in churches, synagogues and mosques would be unaffected, as would existing civil marriages.

The word “marriage” would be replaced with “valid domestic partnership” in the state’s family law code.

“If people want to maintain a religious test for marriage, let’s turn it into a religious institution,” said Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery), the bill’s Senate sponsor.

Naturally, the anti-gays do not support this idea. It turns out that, surprise, they didn’t really mean what they were saying. What they really want is preferential treatment for heterosexuality.

“What they’re talking about is an even more radical departure from traditional marriage than even advocates for gay marriage are talking about,” said Del. Christopher B. Shank (R-Washington), the minority whip. “They’re creating a situation for one special interest group that basically diminishes the value of marriage for everyone else.”

As I have said before, the Democrat majority in Maryland has an obligation to find some method of providing protection for their gay citizens. Considering their overwhelming control of the state and the support that Democrats demand and receive from the gay community, it is unconscionable that no provision be made.

Pragmatically, civil unions may be the best that can be hoped for. But I believe that Raskin’s proposition has the potential to remind some legislators that secondary status – civil unions or domestic partnerships – are something they would never ever accept for their own relationships.

Let’s hope and pray that decency and integrity will rule the day and that Maryland’s elected leaders will come to believe that all persons, gay and straight, are equal and entitled to equal protection under the law.

See also:
Blade Asks What Happened In Maryland
Maryland Passes Limited Rights for Gay Couples
Maryland Balances Budget by Taxing Gay Widows
Maryland Senator Muse Champions Bigotry
Maryland AG Endorses Marriage Equality
Maryland Legislator Calls Anti-Gay Bluff
Maryland Introduces Bill to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage – Are Democrats Committed to Equality?
Maryland Marriage Poll

Comments

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Charlotte
February 5th, 2008 | LINK

Knowlege is key with this issue. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue:) http://www.OUTTAKEonline.com

David Weintraub
February 5th, 2008 | LINK

I particularly enjoyed the part where Shank argues that making the situation identical for everyone would be “creating a situation for one special interest group.”

Of course they feel that the right to marriage for everyone would “diminish” its value for them. That’s what makes it a “special right.”

Pure comedy gold.

Emily K
February 5th, 2008 | LINK

right now marriage is a “special right” for heterosexuals ONLY. How would making a legal civil partnership between two people equal for everyone, no matter who those two people are, make it a “special right” just for gays?

Steve - Geneva, IL
February 5th, 2008 | LINK

I would think the religious right would jump at this. Gay marriage is coming. As hard as they fight it, many see the writing on the wall. This is a good out for them.

If they truly believe marriage is a sacrament, why aren’t they asking why the government is in it in the first place? How would they feel if the government wanted to define and regulate baptism or communion? I am surprised that many of the bible believing christians aren’t up in arms about the government control of marriage.

The problem is, they hate gay people more than they truly believe in the sacredness of marriage.

Ben in Oakland
February 5th, 2008 | LINK

Steve– you are bang on in your posting. But you see, I don’t think this is really only about marriage. It’s also about ending this particular prejudice once and for all. That is why the sands of the argument are ever-shifting. It sounds much nicer to say it’s about marriage than it does to say ‘I hate queers.’

Erica B.
February 5th, 2008 | LINK

Technically my “marriage”, performed by a JP rather than a rabbi, is a “civil union” (although, since it was in Massachusetts, the distinction was utterly pointless). I do have a “marriage” license, though. I don’t particularly care what it’s called — it’s my intention to stick with my spouse for as long as possible, and I have no interest in what we call the relationship. However, I also know that my meh-whatever attitude is much easier to hold as a heterosexual.

Mainly, it’s interesting to watch the reaction when I mildly point out that I’m in a “civil union” during a gay marriage conversation — lots of people never thought of it that way :)

I am also highly amused by Steve’s speculation about government involvement in the sacraments… though it would be funnier if it wasn’t a little bit plausible…

Ephilei
February 6th, 2008 | LINK

I’m very much in favor separating marriage and government. I think it would solve every legitimate concern. The government doesn’t keep track of personal status in things like religious affiliation or baptism, which were once standard in European records. I’d also like to see the government stop tracking people’s sex as well.

I’ve already decided that I won’t get legally married until the same sex marriage issue is resolved, but if I go thru a wedding, I’ll use the word “marriage” regardless. And that’s regardless of the sex of my spouse; I haven’t decided that yet.

Barry
February 6th, 2008 | LINK

From my blog on MySpace dated Saturday, November 04, 2006:

“{T}he USA has as its foundation the principles of men fleeing religious oppression. They wrote into The Constitution of the United States of America, Bill of Rights, Article I ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’

“In its own exercise of marriage, the church is at odds with the Biblical precedent, yet while making its own rules to suit their purpose, they presume to impose restrictions on others who would marry. By making the church into an arm of the political right, they also seek to violate The Constitution of the United States of America by imposing ‘an establishment of religion, [and] prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ for those who do not hold to their same religious beliefs.

“Since marriage is a church rite, it should not be a matter of governmental concern, even for heterosexual marriage. The government has no right licensing marriage at all. Since the marriage vows constitute a covenantal contract, often recognized by religious authority and ceremony, the only part the government should play is recording marriages, however formed, and under whatever religious belief exercised, including lack thereof, and the only reason the marriage should be recorded at all is for tax or other verification purposes.

“The church should only be involved in the decision of who they will marry within the context of their own beliefs. The government and other religious organizations must not have any right to interfere. If another church has differing beliefs and would marry members of the same gender, it is none of the business of your church or of the government.”

Anni
February 6th, 2008 | LINK

I’d support such a bill. What a church decides to do is not the government’s business.

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