On November 6, 2012, Maryland voters such as me had the opportunity to vote FOR or AGAINST Question 6. Question 6 is worded as such:
“Established 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.”
In a nutshell, the law would allow homosexual couples to marry just like heterosexual couples in the state of Maryland. The law also does not compel anyone to be involved in these unions if their personal beliefs prevent them from doing so. My vote which was, “FOR” was mailed in on an absentee ballot weeks before November 6.
Why would a heterosexual male such as myself with nothing to gain from this legislation vote in this manner? My motivation stems from one powerful word, “equality.” It appears that restricting two individuals of legal age to marry based on no reason other than their sexual orientation is an utter encroachment on civil rights. Much of the opposition to this law was based on religious doctrine. In our country with a constitution as such, we can avoid the pitfalls of theocracy by not giving any religion the mandate to write laws. That is why the second portion of the law is very important. It states that no religious organizations will be forced to do anything that is against their belief system. This allows both homosexual couples and religious individuals to have their specific rights. This is the true essence of political compromise.
Other opponents of this law have used what I call the definition argument. This argument is as such, “Marriage is defined as only between man and woman.” Historical legal definitions should be changed when current times no longer reflect what may have been acceptable in the past. In this county white male property owners were historically the only group allowed to vote. I fit one out of three of the requirements (male). If this definition was still present my ability to vote would not be a reality. In fact, previous definitions in this country considered me slightly less than a human being. Would we consider this acceptable today? As times change our laws should reflect the present with an eye towards the future.
It is my pleasure to say that the bill passed!!! According to the Huffington Post, 52% of Marylanders that participated in the vote were FOR while 48% were AGAINST. This may be a narrow margin but I am ecstatic that my state has taken a step in the direction of equality.