Sunday, January 31, 2010

Maryland & Gay Marriage

A woman makes her support of her marriage, and...Image via Wikipedia
The DC City Council passed a bill that would allow gay marriage in the District of Columbia.  They did so despite calls from religious leaders and others to put the bill to a referendum of the citizens.  The bill was signed by Mayor Adrian Fenty.  Since DC is still a federal district, any of the laws passed are subject to Congressional oversight.  With the overwhelming Democratic majority in the House and Senate, it does not appear that Congress will step in to change that legislation.

My state, the state of Maryland, has defined marriage as between a man and a woman since 1973.  While marriage is defined in Maryland as between a man and a woman, the law regarding recognizing marriages is a little more vague.  Maryland recognizes marriages performed in other jurisdictions under the "full faith and credit" clause of the US Constitution.  Same sex marriage is not specifically addressed.

As liberal as my state is, I fully expected that the issue of gay marriage would come up sooner rather than later.  With gay marriage looming so close in neighboring Washington, DC., a member of the Maryland house of delegates, Emmett Burns (D-Baltimore County) has introduced House Bill 90 that would ban the state from recognizing gay marriages performed in states or countries where the act is legal.  As I said, I expected the issue to come up sooner or later.  What I didn't expect was that a Democrat would be the one to propose a bill that would ban the recognition of gay marriage.

My current view of gay marriage is not typical of most conservatives.  I do not have a strong feeling either way.  I believe it is an issue to be determined by the individual states.  I believe that if a state legislature or the citizens by referendum decide to allow gay marriage, then so be it. I do have a problem with the matter being decided by activist courts.  I do not believe that churches should be compelled to perform gay marriages in states that allow it.  That being said, I do feel that marriages that are conducted in a legal fashion, including gay marriages, should be recognized by states, even if those states do not allow gay marriage.  Let's face it, with nearly half of heterosexual marriages ending in divorce, it isn't like we are getting it right ourselves.   
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  1. Once again we shall respectfully disagree. I do not believe that civil rights is a matter to be decided by the states. (Nor, for that matter, by the churches.)

  2. I don't think we are that far off on this one. In this particular case, I am disagreeing with a Democrat for reasons that I would think you would agree with.

    I would not have a problem with allowing gay marriage throughout the country, but I also believe in the 10th amendment. With only a handful of states allowing gay marriage, I believe it makes it difficult to pass something nationally. In the civil rights movement of the 60's, there were more states supporting equal rights than currently supporting gay marriage. I view it more of a practical and democratic matter. I think that as more states allow gay marriage then it will pave the way for national action. I do think that legally performed gay marriages should be recognized by the country and the individual states.

    I don't know your religious background, if any, but I have come from conservative churches. I am no longer active in them, but I understand why the church and other religious faiths would be against it. I don't think they should be compelled to perform rites that would go against their beliefs.



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