Between the Debates – Maryland’s Question 6 and Marriage Equality

With only a few weeks to go to get the word out, rhetoric on my Facebook friends’ pages has heated up. Today’s issue seems to be Marriage Equality (aka Gay / Same Sex Marriage). Here’s what Maryland’s law says: http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/chapters_noln/Ch_2_hb0438T.pdf

Maryland is one of four states voting on the question. Two others (Washington and Maine) are also voting to support Marriage Equality, as Minnesota votes on a ban. http://www.towleroad.com/2012/09/thefour.html

I came out a very long time ago as a Straight Ally for Marriage Equality and I will be voting FOR Question 6. This ought to come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or my politics. I have many friends whose relationships with long-term partners have outlasted my straight friends’ marriages and my own. We should not have to vote on a matter of human and civil rights based on sexual orientation. The vote should be unnecessary and those rights should simply be recognized for what they are: basic and fundamental to each individual.

These questions should not be necessary but we still fight about context, putting words into the mouths of our founders even as we try to view and interpret our ruling documents in historical context.

I am often shocked and saddened by the claims I’ve heard from the other side of Equality questions, of why we shouldn’t support what is clearly a civil rights issue. Marylanders for Marriage Equality has a whole series of ads which are not seeing wide release because advertising is expensive (http://www.youtube.com/user/MDers4MarriageEqual).

There is no argument that is as valid as a human being’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, especially in the United States of America, where these are considered basic rights granted by birth and not privileges granted by government.

LGBTQ people have begun to recognize a level of freedom that, until very recently, they believed was unattainable except in the narrowest confines of private space. They are becoming less concerned about their safety, job stability, family reaction or bullying because of a fundamental shift in the views of society that have increased rapidly in the last few years. If we remove these rights, we become guilty of shoving these people back into the dark who might otherwise be welcomed as contributing members of society, for something as basic as the color of their eyes, size of their bodies or texture of their hair.

Beware the restriction of your rights and those of others. “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Ben Franklin

[Edited to add]

It must have been something in the air this morning, because shortly after I posted the commentary below, news items began popping up on my feed declaring that the Federal Appeals Court has Struck Down DOMA. It’s only a matter of time before the question goes to the Supreme Court. And here’s the thing: Whoever sits as President in the next term will help decide whether DOMA will be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, because it’s more than likely that at least one, possibly as many as three members of the Supreme Court will need to be replaced by the President as they retire.

This issue is far too important to leave to Romney or Ryan. Please consider this as you go to the polls and make your choice!

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