General Assembly's Defeat of the Gay Marriage Bill was Disgraceful
The Maryland House of Delegates sent the measure back to committee, where it won't likely resurface this year.
I fully support gay marriage.
If two people of the same sex love each other and want to be together as a couple, legally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. Nor does a majority of the American people who support gay marriage, according to recent polls. It’s a slim majority, true, but nevertheless a majority.
The Maryland legislature, including two of our 23rd District representatives—Sen. Doug Peters (D-Bowie) and Del. Geraldine Valentino Smith (D-Bowie)—feel differently. Thanks to them, the bill to legalize gay marriage is out in cold storage for a year. It seems our legislators don't agree with equal treatment before the law. They're wrong.
State Del. Jim Hubbard (D-Bowie) cosponsored the bill. He faced a lot of pressure from Bowie's conservatives and county clergy, but he bravely stood up for what’s right. Kudos to him.
Another local man who worked hard to get the bill passed was Darrell Carrington, who serves on the board of Equality Maryland. He was the organization's spokesman during the General Assembly session. His goal is to advance marriage equality and equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgendered Marylanders.
Needless to say, like many of us, Carrington was bitterly disappointed by the bill's demise, especially when two members of our district delegation opposed the bill.
The biggest disappointment for many of us in sending the bill back to the House Judiciary Committee was the number of African-Americans that rose on the House floor to oppose the bill. It was literally the oppressed becoming the oppressors. Flash back to 1967: The arguments against same-sex marriage are exactly the same arguments against interracial marriage.
To the religious community who fought this legislation I ask, where, gentlemen of the cloth, is your leadership on important issues? Most true Christians have love in their hearts for everyone as God's children, but these ministers go out of their way to get in the newspaper by ranting against gay people and seeking to deny them their basic humanity and dignity. Shame on them.
Many of their religious arguments against homosexuals are downright absurd. By supporting gay marriage, you are not encouraging anyone to become gay. You are encouraging those who are already gay to lead stable lives and care for the people they love. Why do Christians hold the "sin" of homosexuality to a higher standard than fornication and adultery? The Bible says all are forbidden.
Writer Susan Jacoby offers some interesting comments: "Why would anyone care whether there is a biblical case to be made for gay marriage? You might as well ask whether there is a religious or biblical case to be made for or against slavery.”
The answer, of course, is that the Bible can be cited in support of or in opposition to any human behavior and human need. That is why, as voters and legislators, we ought not to be asking ourselves what the Bible or particular religions say about anything and should stick to what is reasonable in modern society and legal under our Constitution.
I don't care whether the Bible says that gays should be drawn and quartered before being publicly boiled in oil. Nor do I care whether David loved Jonathan more than he loved any of his wives. These ancient books should have no more to do with the rights of gay men and women in modern society than Genesis should have anything to do with the teaching of biology in twenty-first century schools.
Ah, but let’s not forget: A third of Americans believe that every word in Genesis is literally true. And they will not be convinced otherwise by liberal theologians who regard the creation story as a metaphor.
The resolution of such issues such as gay marriage and the teaching of evolution cannot and should not depend today on debate over the "true meaning" of superstitions and heroic tales recorded thousands of years ago.
Such arguments, of course, were never heard on the floor of our Maryland General Assembly. Anti-gay hot air flowed so furiously that people had to fan themselves.
In the words of Coretta Scott-King: "We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination...Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender or ethnic discrimination."
It's too bad our General Assembly doesn't feel the same way, isn't it?
And our local legislators who voted against it should hang their heads in shame.