Last night, Maryland Senate approved the bill to legalize same-sex marriage after a 25-22 vote. This is extremely optimistic news for supporters of marriage equality and gay rights, as the vote makes Maryland the eighth state to approve gay nuptials and the fourth state legislature to do so in the past 12 months (source).
Legalizing same-sex marriage goes beyond a marriage license – it means access to equality and basic rights. With marriage equality, gay couples will finally have access to the 1,138 benefits that the US government provides to legally married couples, including rights like joint parenting and visiting their partner in the hospital. There is so much that heterosexual couples take for granted, things that every consenting and loving couple deserve to have. Marriage is a human right, not a heterosexual privilege.
Unfortunately, this vote will likely be petitioned to referendum, and it will be up to Maryland voters to decide in November (the legislation itself has an effective date of January 2013). I sincerely, desperately hope that it passes – I really don’t understand how people can deny others the very rights that they enjoy. Some people are literally terrified that marriage equality will lead to all sorts of ridiculous evils: men marrying their dogs, gay rights being taught in schools, the decline of civilization. It baffles me, truly baffles me. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, people were saying the same things about interracial couples, but the earth is still intact, isn’t it? It’s such an outdated and close-minded mode of thinking, and a waste of time considering all the very real and pressing issues in our country – and the world at large – that need acknowledgment and action.
Who’s to say that the Christian Bible is the be-all end-all on civil rights, anyway? What about other religious texts? Should religion even have a role in these sort of things? What happened to the idea of separation of church and state?
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The Bible is clear on how it defines marriage, but it also clearly bans a host of other things: shellfish (Leviticus 11:10); wearing gold, pearls, or braids (1 Timothy 2:9); divorce (Mark 10:8); wearing polyester or other fabric blends (Leviticus 19:19); tattoos (Leviticus 19:28); pulling out during sex (Genesis 38:9-10); eating pig or playing football [you can't touch pigskin!] (Leviticus 11:8); even round haircuts (Leviticus 19:27).
Allegedly, these “laws” were made void when Jesus died for their sins, but somehow the one about gays was left out? What about loving your neighbor, treating others the way you’d want to be treated? I’m a spiritual person, not religious, and I’d like to believe that my higher power doesn’t discriminate against someone based on their sexuality, that she loves all equally, but I guess the Christian god is different? The Leviticus 18:22 defense is hypocritical and utter bullshit, because you can’t cherry pick what you do and don’t believe from the same text.
We as humans need to think about civil rights from a place of LOGIC and COMPASSION, not religious convictions! Gay people are no different from anybody else and therefore deserve the same rights. Marriage is about love and commitment, not gender or race, so let’s start treating it that way.
I’m proud to call Maryland my home state after making this giant step forward in civil rights and equality! Hopefully it won’t be long until the rest of the country follows suit.