Liberty and justice for all in Maryland – Guest Voices – The Washington Post

There is no good reason religious people should oppose marriage equality. In fact, there’s every good reason, including religious reasons, for supporting the freedom to marry.

This November, Maryland voters will have the historic opportunity to extend the rights and responsibilities of marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Specifically, Marylanders will vote on Question 6, asking them to approve or reject a marriage equality bill state legislators passed earlier this year.

Should voters affirm the law, Maryland would join six other states and the District of Columbia – as well as become the first state below the Mason-Dixon Line – that currently allow loving and committed same-sex couples to marry. It would also make Maryland the first state (or one of the first states, depending on the results of Maine and Washington’s marriage equality referenda) to approve of marriage equality at the ballot box.

In short, approving marriage equality at the ballot box in Maryland would be a historic moment in the fight for “liberty and justice for all.”

via Liberty and justice for all in Maryland – Guest Voices – The Washington Post.

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5 Lies Maryland’s New Anti-Gay Marriage Ad Uses | Care2 Causes

1) “Marriage, the union of a man and a woman…” – Unless you live in one of America’s six states or the District of Columbia, or one of the several nations, that has legalized marriage equality. It’s about denying reality, folks.

2) “Marriage is more than what adults want for themselves, it’s also about the next generation.” – This pretends that marriage is what makes babies happen. Out-of-wedlock teen mothers bedevil this. Also, we know the “marriage is for procreation” line doesn’t hold water because we do not deny the elderly or the infertile a right to marry.

3) “Marriage provides children with the best chance of being raised by a mother and a father.” – Well, yes it would do if you only let straight people marry and then tie adoption rights to heterosexuals-only marriage, as has happened in some states.

4) “Children do best when raised by their married mom and dad.” — The implication of this non sequitur is that children need a mother and father in order to flourish. No peer reviewed, consensus-backed study has shown that the gender of a child’s parents matters, and there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that same-sex parents provide kids with just as nurturing an upbringing as their straight counterparts.

5) “Nobody is entitled to redefine marriage.” — Really, because we’ve been doing it for quite a while now. From contracting for land, to trading women for cattle, to allowing multiple partner marriages, and, yes, allowing same-sex marriage; marriage has been redefined countless times throughout the ages. Furthermore, we as a society do have the right to change what we consider a civil marriage, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to define away gay marriage rights, and therein also have a right to end the inequality same-sex couples face in tax laws, state level recognition and federal benefits, all of which are tied to marriage.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/5-lies-marylands-new-anti-gay-marriage-ad-uses.html#ixzz29HwYlpms

via 5 Lies Maryland’s New Anti-Gay Marriage Ad Uses | Care2 Causes.

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Md. referendum on legalizing same-sex marriage – baltimoresun.com

Eric Lee misses the point of Question 6 in his commentary on same-sex marriage (“Protecting marriage isn’t about hate,” Oct. 2). His analogy of the vegetarian restaurant is particularly off the mark. If his favorite vegetarian restaurant starts serving hamburgers, he is under no obligation to buy or eat them.

A more fit analogy for Question 6 would be a restaurant in 1960 allowing a black couple to sit at a table with white people. Or, 10 years ago, a restaurant moving your favorite table and adding a wheelchair ramp to allow a disabled person the same right to share a meal.

Question 6 is about allowing the citizens of Maryland to enjoy the legal, government-recognized institution of marriage. It has no effect on one’s God or religion and how they define a religious marriage.

One of the longest and most stable relationships in my extended family is a same-sex union. My cousin and her partner are raising three wonderful kids who benefit from a stable, committed relationship that has all the “special qualities” and “unique gifts” Mr. Lee mistakenly credits only to heterosexual couples. This great family is always welcome at my table.

via Md. referendum on legalizing same-sex marriage – baltimoresun.com.

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For 1st time, gay marriage may win statewide vote – U.S. News

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET — After losing some 30 ballots on same-sex marriage across the country over the past decade, advocates of lesbian and gay couples are encouraged by polls showing they have a good chance of finally logging their first victory in a statewide popular vote.

Polls show majorities back same-sex marriage in Maryland, Washington and Maine, and they indicate a tight battle in Minnesota – the four states holding votes on the issue in November.

“We’re feeling positive. The reality is, we haven’t won a ballot measure on marriage yet,” said Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. “I think it’s very reasonable and realistic to expect that we’ll win one or more of these ballot measures; certainly the polling suggests that all four are … a possibility.”

Polling ahead of such ballots has not always accurately captured voters’ sentiment: In California in 2008, the same-sex marriage camp had a majority, though the ban on gay and lesbian marriage ultimately prevailed. In North Carolina, polls had predicted a closer race in the May ballot on the constitutional amendment (a 16-point difference, according to Public Policy Polling at the time), but the anti-gay marriage camp won by more than 20 points.

“They’re doing what they’ve also done, taking their victory lap before their first victory,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which on Thursday gave $250,000 to each of the four state campaigns opposed to same-sex marriage.

“The poll numbers that they’re interpreting as good for them are actually not good for them,” he said Friday, though noting that Washington could be tough for his side.

So far, the polls show support in the low-to-mid 50s for same-sex marriage:

via For 1st time, gay marriage may win statewide vote – U.S. News.

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Maryland gay marriage ballot referendum – baltimoresun.com

The campaign to affirm Maryland’s marriage equality law at the ballot box began in earnest last week when the secretary of state released the official language that voters will see when they go to the polls in November. It lays out in straightforward terms what the law does and what it doesn’t do. It allows Marylanders to vote for permitting gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license but does not compel any religious figure to perform or recognize gay marriages or to provide goods or services for a gay wedding. Quite simply, it says that Maryland recognizes the need to treat everyone with fairness and equality while maintaining the respect for religious liberty that was a bedrock of this state’s founding.

 

But it didn’t take long for opponents to drag out the same specious attacks they have used to great effect in other states where gay marriage has been on the ballot. Within hours of the release of the ballot language, Derek McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group that spearheaded the petition drive to put the law on the ballot, had telegraphed the arguments that we are likely to hear much more of in the months ahead. “Maryland parents who send their children to public schools are immediately asking how does this affect what is taught in schools,” he said in a statement. “Business owners have a right to know if their personal opinions about same-sex marriage will find them in violation of the law.”

 

Neither question has anything to do with the matter at hand, but since he asked, here are the answers: “Not at all” and “No.”

via Maryland gay marriage ballot referendum – baltimoresun.com.

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Maryland gay marriage foes have signatures for referendum | Reuters

Tue May 29, 2012 7:42pm EDT

(Reuters) – Opponents of same-sex marriage in Maryland announced on Tuesday they have submitted more than twice the number of signatures needed to put the state’s new law allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry before voters in a referendum.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, a coalition of groups working to preserve the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, said it has collected more than 113,000 voter signatures.

That figure far exceeded the 56,000 signatures needed to bring the law to a referendum. A third of those had to be submitted by Thursday.

“There are people that are just impassioned about this issue around the state,” said the organization’s executive director, Derek McCoy, speaking after a press conference announcing the success of the petition drive. “I think what you’re seeing is, people don’t want a radical redefinition of marriage just on a whim.”

McCoy said more than 4,000 people trained to collect signatures campaigned in churches and other venues, and held gatherings in their homes within the last couple of months.

He said support for the referendum grew after President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, as Maryland voters unhappy with this announcement “came off the fence” and decided to sign the petition.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign manager Josh Levin said in a statement that the opponents’ announcement comes as no surprise, but added that “it’s clear those opposed to marriage equality are losing ground.”

A poll conducted recently by the organization found 57 percent of Maryland residents would vote to uphold the law legalizing same-sex unions, and 37 percent would vote against it if the election were held today.

In March, Maryland became the eighth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage, joining the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York. when Governor Martin O’Malley signed the measure into law.

In Washington state, where Governor Christine Gregoire signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage in February, opponents are trying to bring the issue to a voter referendum in November. In New Jersey, similar legislation passed both houses before it was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

via Maryland gay marriage foes have signatures for referendum | Reuters.

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