Rights of Gay Maryland Couples Threatened by One LegislatorDem
This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the opinions of other authors at this site.
March 7th, 2008
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that gay couples in Maryland may have to settle, at least for a while, for far less than marriage equality.
Although the state’s legislature is overwhelmingly Democrat, it appears that not only is marriage considered an impossible goal, so too is civil unions or really anything other than small package of selected benefits. And it is all due to one man:
[Sen. C. Anthony ] Muse, a Prince George’s County Democrat, opposes same-sex marriage but had considered supporting civil unions. He said yesterday that while civil unions are “off the table,” he’s concerned about providing equal rights. He said a more narrowly tailored bill could have the support in the full Senate to pass.
Although there are between 340 and 425 benefits provided by the state that could be provided on an equal measure, gay couples can at best expect a trickle.
Lawmakers expect that the alternative measure would combine three existing bills conferring some rights and benefits, such as hospital visitation rights, to same-sex couples into one bill. They plan to build upon that with other protections.
Muse, an evangelical minister, seems to base his objections to civil equality on his own religious beliefs. While this is not uncommon in Republican politics (to the dismay of fiscal conservatives, federalists, and libertarians), the Democrat Party prides itself – and rightly so – in placing equality of citizens as a higher priority than the observation of religious exclusionary traditions.
But as of yet I have not heard of any repercussions to Sen. Muse’s obstinate religously motivated political actions coming from either the state or national Democrat party. Muse seems to be free to dictate discrimination, and it does not appear to me that any Democrats in positions of leadership are willing to stand up to him and call him on his bigotry.
I have no doubt that there are a great many of our readers that are Democrats. Further, I am convinced that members of the gay community are far far more dedicated and contribute more time and money per capita to Democrats than nearly any other constituents.
It is a disgusting betrayal of trust that this state be dominated by Democrats who are willing to give their gay citizens merely the barest pitance. I think it may be time for loyal gay Democrats to contact their friends in Maryland leadership and in the national Democrat leadership and ask why Sen. Muse has been given veto power on providing any measure of equality to gay couples.
Perhaps a good question might be why Sen. Muse continues to sit on that committee.
And if the State or National Party is unwilling to stand up for gay citizens, perhaps the next fundraising appeal should receive the following response from gay party members:
Of course, in words I support the Party. And naturally some day, when the populace is in total agreement about the Democrat Party and such an act isn’t controversial, I’ll send you a check for $1,000. But in the meanwhile, here’s a check for two cents. Oh, and I’ll be sure to tell everyone just what a great person I am for giving you anything at all.
We deserve better, people. Let’s demand it.
C. ANTHONY MUSE
Democrat, District 26, Prince George’s County
James Senate Office Building, Room 304
11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 841-3092, (301) 858-3092
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3092 (toll free)
fax: (410) 841-3410, (301) 858-3410
Maryland Democratic Party
188 Main Street Suite 1
Annapolis, MD 21401
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number: 202-863-8000
(For questions about contributions, please call 877-336-7200)