Excellent new op-ed by Kevin Waterman in the Chestertown Spy on the Eastern Shore. He’s given us permission to reprint it here:
Many Republican voices here in Maryland are calling on people to vote “No” on all of the state ballot questions. I am not one of them. I’m suggesting that people ought to be voting “Yes” on at least one question – Question 6.
I hear a wide variety of objections from my GOP friends to this stance, so I’d like to address them quickly.
Marriage equality is no threat to religious liberty. American courts have always been extremely respectful of freedom of religion and still are today. When churches in America can still legally refuse to marry an interracial couple, have a woman as a priest, or hire a gay person as a Sunday school teacher there is little reason to think any effort to force them to marry same-sex couples would meet with success.
Our adversaries at the Maryland Marriage Alliance seem to make quite a specialty of it.
P.S. From the waspish Tim Hulsey on Facebook: “Note to Paul Schindler, prayer coordinator for the Maryland Marriage Alliance: ‘Satan’ is a proper noun, therefore capitalized, and as an appositive it should have a comma afterwards. Retake ninth-grade English and try again.”
- New Baltimore Sun survey shows Maryland voters evenly split on Question 6, within statistical margin of error. [MetroWeekly] Turnout is going to be the key, so make sure our supporters get to the polls! Early voting will resume tomorrow (Wed) and will continue through Friday with extended hours from 8am-9pm. Find your polling location here.
- Truly excellent editorial in the Carroll County Times, with mention of Sen. Kittleman and GOP support. Other prominent newspapers have also endorsed Question 6, including the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and the Frederick News-Post.
- Don’t accept “gay lobby vs. organized religion” framing — it’s bogus [David Fishback letter in Gazette; Freedom To Marry roundup] Does NOM really believe you don’t count as a person of faith if you support freedom to marry? [Box Turtle Bulletin] “Why I as an evangelical Christian think same-sex marriage should be legal” [Sarah Bessey, Deeper Story] “My take: The Christian case for gay marriage” [lawprof Mark Osler, CNN Belief Blog] Baltimore pastor speaks his mind in homily: “The St. Vincent parishioners gave Lawrence a standing ovation.” [NCR Online]
- Here’s the ad from the campaign for 6 responding to ads from the other side claiming the law will change what children are taught in schools:
And Box Turtle Bulletin, Jeremy Hooper and Scott Wooledge have some background about the guy in the “They’re teaching gay stuff in Massachusetts schools!” ads, and the Boston Globe doesn’t think much of his claims either.
It’s often assumed that the Maryland Republican Party is operating as some sort of united force against Question 6 to defeat the freedom to marry, but that’s very far from the truth. In point of fact the party holds a wide range of opinion. One of the clearest signs of that is that many county Republican Central Committees, including those in some of the biggest counties, are disinclined to recommend a vote against 6 or to throw their weight in the scales in other ways against it.
According to direct information from persons in a position to know, at least three county GOP central committees have decided not to issue any recommendation to Republican voters on Question 6. All three of those counties — Prince George’s, Howard, and Queen Anne’s — are home to prominent Republican activists who are known to favor the state’s new same-sex marriage law.
Now it’s true that in some other counties, such as Montgomery, Frederick, Anne Arundel, Harford, and Calvert, the party organization is promoting a vote against 6. For many other counties, we haven’t been able to find indications online of whether the party has committed itself.
So this post is meant to serve as a sort of scorecard. If you can bring us something reasonably definitive (a document, a news account, the word of a committee member) as to what stand other county central committees have taken, we’ll add them to the listing.
In the mean time, all hail to the Prince George’s, Howard and Queen Anne’s county GOPs for recognizing that good Republicans are divided on this issue and that the best course for the party is to leave it to each voter’s conscience.
Terrific Tumblr post and picture today from Intentionally Blair:
Financially/Economically speaking, I am devoted to this party…
But when it comes to rejecting rights of others? When it comes to forcing my own beliefs and opinions? I simply can’t do it…
And as always, friends, I swear to you – I will ALWAYS vote for what I feel is right for MAN kind – not simply, ‘MY’ Kind.
Read the whole thing.
Here’s a page concisely answering various scare themes (“Gay marriage will be taught in schools!” “Clergy will be punished for not approving marriages!”) circulated by some of our opponents.
Our friend Chrys Kefalas is in Sunday’s Washington Post with this very personal testimony on what freedom to marry means to him. Vote FOR Question 6, and help clear the way for Chrys’s own Big Fat Greek Wedding!
The Cato Institute (my day job) has been doing cutting-edge work on same-sex marriage for years from a libertarian perspective. I round up some highlights here.
Reporter Sam Bollier of Al-Jazeera, the worldwide Arabic news service, surveys the ballot fights on same-sex marriage and is kind enough to quote me:
…The conservative case
Walter Olson, who runs Maryland for All Families, a group of conservatives and libertarians who support same-sex marriage, would agree with [Austin] Nimocks that marriage has social benefits. When people are married, they “tend to be more productive, they tend to stick with their jobs, they tend to take better care of their health, [and are] more likely to [make] investments in their community as homeowners”, he told Al Jazeera.
He believes there are persuasive conservative arguments to be made in favour of gay marriage. For instance, libertarian conservatives believe that government is “there to protect individual rights”, he said, and that people “should be free to do anything” as long as it does not harm others.
And conservatives who fear rapid social change, he argued, could drop their opposition after noticing that gay marriage hasn’t had negative effects in the six states that currently permit it.
Tune in to the Maynard and Shari show on Baltimore’s 1370 am today (Friday) at 4:30, when MAF friend Dave Myers will be discussing the conservative case for Question 6 and freedom to marry.