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Why gay marriage in Maryland is not a civil rights issue

By Ann Miller

The proponents of gay marriage in Maryland have long framed the debate as a civil rights issue, comparing it to slavery, women’s suffrage, and the work of the greatest Republican of all time, Martin Luther King.  I have heard them speak against the “separate but unequal” aspect of civil unions.
For background, civil unions are contracts which confer all the same legal rights as marriage on the state level, such as distribution of estates, care of minors, property rights, power of attorney, medical decisions, etc.  The caveat is that civil unions are not recognized on the federal level, so anything having to do with federal law is not protected, such as social security benefits, federal tax filings, etc.
To forward this discussion, I will use the following terms with the following self-described definitions.  
  • “Legal equality” is anti-discrimination which protects a demographic from bodily harm or threats, and allows for equality in the workplace in terms of job procurement, wage earnings, and opportunity.  Legal equality protects one’s livelihood.  
  • “Social equality” refers to how a demographic or their lifestyle is viewed by society at large; whether it is accepted or carries negative connotations.
The government, through legislation, owes all citizens legal equality of opportunity.  It has no business, however, legislating social equality.  To do so would enter the realm of thought policing.  Citizens have a right to make judgments, discriminate between choices or lifestyles or appearances or groups, and even to hate, so long as they do not act upon those beliefs in ways which interfere with one’s legal equality rights.  We are thinking beings, and everyone makes judgments, positive and negative, whether they admit to it or not.  Few take them to the point of hate, in my opinion, but I digress.
If gay marriage were merely a civil rights issue, the gay lobby would not have rejected civil unions when they were introduced to the Maryland General Assembly in the past (by a Republican no less).  They would have pushed for it, celebrated its passage, and then moved on to working to get them federally recognized.  Civil unions are a civil rights issue.
Instead, they rejected civil unions in Maryland.  Why?  Because they want more than legal equality.  They want social equality and have no qualms about asking the government to force it on citizens through legislation in order to achieve it.  They have no qualms about pushing to indoctrinate our children in the school system without parental knowledge, much less consent.  They have no issues with forcing religious institutions which receive government grants and monies to accept gay marriage contrary to the tenets of their faith.  (Yes, the gay marriage bill includes no protections from religious institutions being forced to promote gay marriage if they receive government money.)
Social equality must be achieved by slow and gradual work within communities.  It must be driven by education (not of the public school variety) and individuals and society (not the government).
The civil rights aspect to this issue ends at civil unions.  Beyond that, gay marriage is an attack on marriage, the family, religion, and our constitutional First Amendment right to Freedom of Religion.
Vote Against the Referred Law on Question 6 on the November 6 ballot.

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