Image via WikipediaThe state of Maryland has taken the first steps towards becoming the sixth state to allow gay marriages. The bill has passed through the Judicial Proceedings Committee and is headed towards the Senate. The Washington Post reports that the vote in the Senate is expected to be close, but most think it will pass. Then it would go to the House of Delegates where it is expected to pass more easily. Governor Martin O'Malley has said he would sign the bill.
I do not have real strong feelings either way on the issue. It is an issue in which I have empathy for sides of the argument. It really does not impact me or my marriage. Over the years, I have worked with and been friendly with homosexuals who have been involved in monogamous relationships. One coworker recently took advantage of DC's gay marriage laws and married his partner of several years. Having spent several years in evangelical churches, I also understand the religious argument against gay marriage.
The one thing that I will say in regards to the path that Maryland is taking, is that I feel the state is going about this in the right way. I am a big supported of the 10th Amendment of the Constitution and of state's rights. The issue of marriage is one that I feel should be decided individually by the state. I also like the fact that Maryland is passing it through legislation, and not the courts. Some of the states that currently allow gay marriage have done so by judicial fiat. Lastly, the bill includes a strong conscious clause that allows religious institutions to be exempt from having to perform same sex marriages.
Like I said, I have no strong feeling either way. Given the circumstances, Maryland is doing it the right way, with features that I think are necessary for religious institutions. If the populace of Maryland decides that the law is something that they can not support they can petition to have the issue brought to a referendum or they can vote in legislators that would be supportive of repealing the law.