Maryland gets Marriage Equality
I know the big news story today is President Obama being re-elected, but I hope this bit of news doesn’t get buried under all the brouhaha: it seems as though the tiny state of Maryland has legalized same-sex marriage by approving “Question 6” on the ballot. Now, before you celebrate this victory, you should know a few important details:
Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.
Can you imagine any civil rights legislation that still protected religious institutions from their blatant racism? I know I should be happy for gay couples finally getting the same rights as everyone else, but I can’t help but feel like this toothless referendum further legitimizes institutionalized homophobia. It’s no different than allowing churches the right to deny interracial marriages, since those too are specifically condemned by the Bible (remember when Lot’s daughters rape him in order not to have to take on foreign husbands?). I realize this was a necessary concession, but we should recognize the major barrier to marriage equality is still religion, and we shouldn’t be afraid to call it like it is.