Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Marriage Equality Fight
Comes to Maryland

Looks like the marriage equality fight will be taking center stage in Maryland very soon and with the prospect looming in the State House, the hate groups are already gearing up to let Maryland's residents know that equality is against the laws of God. Protect Maryland Marriage has a website in development, but in the meantime they have helpfully placed some information on their temp page to "support" their beliefs … except none of what they have to say holds any water. For instance, Protect Maryland Marriage points out in the current Maryland marriage law that:

"A man may not marry his: grandmother; mother; daughter; sister; or granddaughter," and that "A woman may not marry her: grandfather; father; son; brother; or grandson" and adds "nor may they marry their in-laws, nieces, nephews, or similar family relations by marriage. All of this will be threatened if the marriage law is changed to benefit one small but vocal and well-funded sexual minority."

Exactly how would this be "threatened" by allowing marriage equality? I'm sure that new wording will be put into place that would state no one can marry anyone of familial relations. This is similar to the same argument that marriage equality would allow people to marry animals and inanimate objects. Only problem with this argument is that marriage is a contract which requires the legal signatures of the people being married in order for it to be valid. Neither animals nor inanimate objects can provide a legal and valid signature. Plus, there's nothing in the current law that prevents anyone from marrying their couch, cat or coffee pot, so to assume marriage equality would suddenly allow everyone in the state to marry anyone and anything they want is ludicrous.

Protect Maryland Marriage group goes on to state: "We believe there is value in preserving the traditional definition of marriage, and that efforts to change this definition do violence to the family structure and the reality that children do best when raised in a stable family with the love, attention, and physical presence of their biological mother and father." Okay, so then why isn't there a movement to make divorce illegal? Divorce, I believe, is the most violent thing that can destroy a family so then why is this still legal if children need the nurturing of both parents working together as a family unit?

Protect Maryland Marriage covers their butts with: "While some families may not always be able to provide such opportunities to every child, keeping the current law is the best way to respect the natural family, the rights of a biological mother and father to be able to raise their own children, to educate their children and teach them their own religious values--not the religious values of the state--and to provide the model for an ideal family for children to be raised in." Except what about those teen-aged biological parents that have absolutely no facilities to care for a child … a child that they most likely didn't want in the first place? Protect Maryland Marriage simply ignores the fact that young girls are recklessly engaging in sexual activity which produces a child that they are too young to care for, so it either ends up stuck in a home that can't (or doesn't want) to take on that responsibility, or it is placed in an adoption facility where only a legally married couple, or in some cases a well-to-do single parent, is afforded the opportunity to raise the child as their own, instilling in them their own values (P.S. not all of these adoptive families share the same moral and religious values as the PMM, so I would assume Protect Maryland Marriage does not advocate allowing adoption to anyone who doesn't fall in line with their beliefs).

Procreation is also a reason given for only allowing a man and woman to marry, suggesting that is the only reason for people to get married. If this is the case, shouldn't there be some requirement on the marriage license application stating children must be produced within a certain amount of time or the marriage will be deemed invalid? Or a couple should be asked if they intend to have children right up front. A lot of people go into marriage with absolutely no intention of having children, so their marriage application should be denied. Some people can't biologically produce children either, so they also should not be allowed to marry if they can't fulfill the one basic function of a marriage. Right?

Again, Protect Maryland Marriage states: "We are a non-partisan group composed of many faiths, different races, and all types of citizens who are concerned for the future of our state, our country, and our world being threatened by those who seek to force moral, law-abiding citizens to embrace or accept behavior that most of us find contrary to the tenets of our deepest religious & philosophical beliefs." Protect Maryland Marriage assumes (or expects) everyone in Maryland has the same religious and philosophical beliefs as they and if you don't, well then, you're just part of the problem and have no right to an opinion on this matter.

And they finish up with: "The first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that Congress will not violate our FREEDOM OF RELIGION. We firmly believe that as citizens of Maryland, our state legislature should do the same." The caps are theirs and again supports their belief that THEIR religion is the only one that matters, so any of you don't conform to their beliefs are out of luck. Protect Maryland Marriage overlooks the whole issue of separation of church and state by making marriage equality a religious issue that the legislature is trying to regulate. This is NOT a religious issue, it is a rights issue. It is the legislature's job to NOT discriminate against any of its legal, TAXPAYING citizens (whatever happened to "no taxation without representation?"). If people from the LGBT community are not allowed the same legal rights as heterosexual people, they why should they have to pay taxes into a system that will turn around and use that tax money to give benefits to "legally married" couples? It makes no sense. I know same-sex couples who have been together for 20+ years, and I know heterosexual couples who have been married and divorced in much less time, and we all know of people who have been legally married more than once, twice or five times. Doesn't THAT make a mockery of marriage more than a committed, loving couple of the same sex seeking the same legal and protective rights as that person who strolls down the aisle a multitude of times (in a church, no less!).

People have to stop thinking of marriage as a religious matter. Marriage is a legal contract approved by the state and federal government which allows a couple over a thousand rights including tax breaks and such personal matters as hospital visitation rights, inheritance and the like. Legal marriage also allows a U.S. citizen to wed a non-citizen, giving that person legal U.S. citizenship. A bi-national same-sex couple has no such protections, often resulting in the non-citizens being deported back to their country, sometimes tearing apart a couple that has been together for several years. How is this fair?

Marriage equality is simply a legal means for people to enjoy a life together while being protected by the law. There is nothing religious about it. No church is going to be forced to perform a same-sex marriage if they don't want to. No heterosexual marriages are going to be torn apart by the law. Nothing is going to be taken away from anyone by allowing two people of the same sex to marry. It's time for people to wake up and realize that we are in the 21st century now, to realize that ALL men (and women) are created equal and deserve the same rights across the board. Anything less is discrimination, plain and simple.

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