January 20, 2006

A Step Forward in Maryland

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge today struck down Maryland's law against same-sex marriage, offering the opinion that it "cannot withstand this constitutional challenge." The state attorney quickly filed an appeal, meaning that the case will go before the Maryland Court of Appeals. This is essentially the state's supreme court and, one way or the other, is the final stop for this case. A decision from that court is not expected until 2007.

The court also opined, "Indeed, this court is unable to even find that the prohibition of same-sex marriage rationally relates to a legitimate state interest." Apparently this judge agrees with Equality Maryland, an organization I belong to, and other groups that civilization will not be destroyed if gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.

This court decision comes as the Maryland Lesiglature is early in its 2006 session and may consider a state constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage. I will join my fellow members of Equality Maryland for a rally at the State House in Annapolis on February 13 calling for the defeat of that measure. For more information, you can check out the Equality Maryland website.

Interestingly, a group of Maryland religious leaders will come together next week to hold their own rally opposing that same amendment. I would be hypocritical if I did not share my discomfort with that. I'm glad they are on the same side of this issue as I am, but their demonstration regarding a political issue while representing their churches is no different than if a group of right-wing clergy coming out to support it.

I've already written at some length about how strongly I oppose the political activism of churches and the leaders that represent them. I would be a lot happier if these clergy members joined the rally on February 13, counting as one person/one voice just like me.

Maryland goverernor Robert Ehrlich, a republican, is on record as believing marriage is meant to be only between a man and a woman. I certainly respect Mr. Ehrlich's right to believe that and teach that value to his children, but it's time to allow grown-ups to chart their own paths and make their own choices, even if they conflict with the governor's value system.

Ultimately, we all have to answer to God about these choices, and I believe we should not be restricted by any state or federal government's definition of who should be allowed to love each other and have legal rights consistent with our commitment to one another.

1 comment:

  1. Jim,

    I have a post Maryland Court Finds SSM Ban Unconstitutional you might find interesting. It has a link to the ruling which is well worth reading.