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.
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