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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Marriage Equality in Maryland: It's all about Family

      Last night I attended a meeting sponsored by Howard County PFLAG on the effort to defeat the probable referendum to override the Marriage Equality legislation that was signed recently by Gov. O'Malley.  Opponents are currently collecting signatures to put a referendum on this November's Maryland ballot.  This being on the ballot along with the initiative to overturn the in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants should give conservatives plenty of energy to get organized.

        With the increasing numbers of gay couples raising children the marriage equality movement has begun to show how this issue isn't just about two adults wanting recognition of their commitment for each other but also about their children having two parents who receive the same recognition as any other couple raising children.  Right now the non biological gay parent has to go through a legal adoption process to have parental rights for the children they are jointly raising.

      While progressive states move ahead on marriage equality the federal government with its DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law, that limits marriage to a union of a man and a woman, continues to enforce discrimination on a federal level.  Gay couples don't have access to federal benefits of their spouses.  Social Security and veteran survivor benefits being the biggest benefit loss.  Bill Clinton has said that signing this law was one of his biggest regrets.  With the tone in DC these days overturning DOMA looks like it will take a lot longer than marriage equality in the states.  The younger generation will probably be the ones to finally overturn this regressive legislation. Amazingly even today 25% of voters in Mississippi think that it should have been illegal for Obama's parents to marry.

      Marriage equality will come eventually and the hope is that Maryland will be the first to have it has become legal by a vote of the state's voters.  All the other states have made it legal by a court or a legislature.  Maryland can show the way to a progressive future by being the first.

Internationally bestselling author, Jodi Picoult, will be at Miller Branch on March 16. The Teen Tech Lab will be unavailable, and a number of chairs will be set up throughout the branch. Even though registration is now closed you still might get in by checking out this library info.

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