FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD–Gay Marriage, a matter to be settled at the ballot box

When the gays attack, it might just be over for you in Democratic politics, or maybe not. It might be worth noticing that the platform of the Democratic National Convention does not call for gay marriage. In fact the 2008 platform doesn’t mention gay or lesbian couples at all. That might be in stark contrast to some liberals who profess that gay marriage is a key party principal.

This week the Maryland House of Delegates voted to advance gay marriage in a bill that after a brief stop in the Senate, and on the Governor’s desk, is destined for a public vote, possibly as soon as this November. With knowledge of these facts a few delegates, Aisha Braveboy and Tiffany Alston of Prince George’s, Sam Arora of Montgomery County and others, pushed to end the debate, pass the bill, but send it directly to a public ballot. NO, was the answer they got from the uncompromising liberal wing of the party that on far too much legislation, dominates Annapolis. That maybe the mistake they can’t overcome in just a few weeks.

“I just cannot understand why, if you know a matter is going to the ballot, we don’t just send it ourselves,” said a senior Democrat in the House of Delegates who voted no on final passage. “We knew that if we passed a slots package, it would likely go to the ballot, but we know that this bill will be sent to the voters and what we could do is stop the guessing game and do it ourselves.” That idea was outright rejected by house leaders and gay marriage supporters saying that just like civil rights of blacks, these rights should not be put up for a public vote. Problem is they will, we know they will, and adding that amendment to this bill would have likely boosted the number of Yea votes among representatives from the communities that will determine if the historic legislation stands the test of time, or is just a temporary celebration doomed for defeat.

Gay Marriage advocates play dangerous game of blacklisting

Delegate Sam Arora

Last year after the gay marriage legislation unsuspectingly went down on the floor of the House of Delegates, leaders in the movement reacted in the way that everyone expected. Equality Maryland, the leading gay rights group in the state at the time, was overruled on strategy by the national outside group the Human Rights Campaign. The decision to pull the bill from the floor before it went down in defeat caused so much drama at Equality Maryland that half of the Board of Directors resigned, the Executive Director was fired, and before the end of the year the entire organization was being reorganized. Leaders of the movement in the house such as Delegate Heather Mizeur and First Lady Katie O’Malley lashed out at black church leaders and delegates from Prince George’s County, and this year has been no different.

Once the vote count was clear supporters of gay marriage didn’t turn their attention to how they would defend the legislation from a public that appears split on the issue, they instead focused like a laser on defeating Delegate Sam Arora of Montgomery County as punishment for his nay vote. Arora, who is not up for reelection until 2014, two full years after the measure might meet defeat this November, is the only delegate from the county to vote against gay marriage. Arora’s sudden opposition to gay marriage does have to come as a shock to the more liberal (not necessarily progressive) Montgomery County but the backlash has many throughout the state thinking it only plays into the storyline about the out-of-control liberals who are much less interested in building consensus around social change than they are at forcing it on a population not ready or willing to accept it.

Clearly gay marriage is coming to America, the timing on when it and how it comes is the debate the people are having today. This generation, much unlike the generation of the civil rights movement, has many very democratic tools to stall this social change and like it or not, government officials should stop trying to prevent the usage of those tools. This sense of direct democracy is promoted by the Democratic Party on when they desire, like the recall of GOP governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, but rejected on issues they hold close. It is time we all stop trying to have our cake and eat it too. This is a time for advocates on both sides, for gay marriage and against it, to reach out to voters throughout Maryland and make their case. Legislators cannot continue to ask for public input and involvement but reject it on the issues where the public might disagree with them. This is a matter for the ballot box.

That is our opinion, let us know what you think! Take our poll, add your comment below, facebook or tweet us.

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15 thoughts on “FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD–Gay Marriage, a matter to be settled at the ballot box

  1. What a terrible precedent. Can’t believe Democrats are endorsing putting individual rights to a majority vote. Sorry if this offends Muse and Braveboy, but hey, they’re just wrong to use their public offices to further their religious beliefs or their constituents’ religious beliefs. I missed the part of the oath of office where they pledged to foist their religious beliefs on everyone.

      • I’m sorry. Is the “Real Prince Georges” a religious rag?
        Because in these United States, religion is forbidden in all matters of the state. (Please see the FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….” ) Marriage may be a term originally found in the Bible, however in 2012 it is primarily a term used by state and local governments. Marriage (state terms) guarantees rights and protections under the law for two people recognized as one. BIBLICAL marriage is not recognized by the government, only civil marriage is. (Otherwise, why do you have to get the state’s ok to wed?????) If BIBLICAL marriage counted, no Jewish, Muslim, Hindu (or any other non-Bible follower) could be married. Atheists?? Forget it!!
        Any elected official swears to uphold the laws of this country, which do not mention specific religious beliefs. Therefore, the Bible and faith communities have no place in governing the populace. And as “Maryland Juice” stated – there is no place in their oath of office to uphold the Christian Bible.
        So, now that your fact is out of the way… How about in the future, you dont write articles with such a religious slant?

      • 1) Authors of the Bible did not make up the English language, nor did they make up the original language of the Bible. Romans believed in Jupiter and Juno, not the god of Abraham. My athiest husband is named Peter, which is a name that appears in the Bible. His name does not make him Christian, nor does the Biblical history of marriage make it a purely Christian phenomena.
        2) I am an athiest, and yet for some reason, I signed legal papers that bond me to another athiest. Those papers did not ask us about our plans for children (we plan never to have any), our religious beliefs (we don’t have any) or what type of sex we like (the fun type). I find it bizarre that these are the focal point of this ridiculous argument, and yet they aren’t even a consideration when it comes to the legality of our relationship.
        3) The Constitution is supposed to protect the minority from the majority. Imagine if we let the voters vote for equal rights for blacks and women. We would’ve gotten nowhere.

        I pledge allegiance to the Flag
        Of the United States of America
        And to the Republic for which is stands
        One nation
        With equality and justice for all

      • The word marriage did not come from the Bible. The Bible was originally in Hebrew and Greek so no English word comes from the Bible. If you are referring to the social institution of marriage, which predates the English term (as well as the French and Latin words which the English was derived from) that predates the Bible. The social institution of marriage exists and has existed in nearly every culture, society and religious group. The institution predates written history. No one religion has a claim on it and as it exists as a legal union and our country has a separation of church and state, the faith communities have no right to dictate the terms of legal marriage.

      • It is NOT a “fact” that marriage is a specifically Biblical (i.e., Judeo-Christian) word or concept. Cultures around the world had their own institutions and understandings of marriage long before European Christian missionaries showed up on their lands and began forcing conversions. What is also a “fact” is that the Biblical concept of marriage is not consistently one-man/one-woman. The Bible actually had multiple concepts of marriage, many of which would be considered profoundly offensive today — one-man/multiple women, wives as property of their husbands, women forced to marry men who rape them, widowed women forced to marry their late husband’s brother, etc.

      • You are not dealing in facts. The word marriage is from old French and before that, old Latin – i.e. NOT church Latin, meaning it existed independently of Judeo-Christian beliefs. And while, yes, the idea of marriage IS in Genesis, we all know that that we can’t cite The Bible as history and that people were marrying BEFORE Genesis was even written.

        Gay marriage is recorded in the early Roman Empire, and was semi-common in the Ming Dynasty in China. Even the Catholics have performed at least one gay wedding in history.

        Facts: They are not on your side here.

  2. Sam Arora ran for office AS A PROPONENT of marriage equality. He lied to the voters and many of his financial backers. That can AND SHOULD make him a target for their anger and retribution.

  3. They are called rights. We don’t get to pick and choose other people’s rights. We don’t get to vote on whether or not people should have rights, especially the ones that we have.

  4. I just hope that this matter gets settled in the Supreme Court soon. The fact is, no vote should ever be taken on rights issues. The majority should not be allowed to dictate the rights of the minority. In 1969, the Supreme Court had to strike down all the interracial marriage bans and following the same precedent (that marriage is a basic right and that the law cannot discriminate against any group of people from marrying another) they will have to strike down the same-sex marriage bans as well. Then we can stop this nonsense of letting the majority decide if a minority gets to marry.

  5. This is one of the silliest arguments in the history of our country. It’s a civil rights issue, plain and simple. I am a straight, Jewish woman, who has never been married and probably never will. By someone else’s “bible,” I’m pretty sure I should be stoned to death. I guess that makes perfect sense to some people, and that’s exactly why I’m allowed to roam around free under the rights my constitution guarantees me.

    With all the trouble in our world, I am constantly stunned that civil rights issues take up our time more than war, famine, and poverty. We should all be ashamed of what we have become.

  6. How odd. I wonder where the poll went. It isn’t appearing on this blog post anymore. Broken link? Too bad. I’d be interested in the numbers.

    • I can still see the poll; however they did close it for voting several hours after the article went up. The numbers are 90.23% in favor of gay marriage and not voting to repeal it; 7.52% opposed and voting to repeal it; and 2.26% undecided. The article was linked in multiple gay rights advocate and I suspect that the votes brought in as a result were somewhat overwhelming. What I am surprised by, however, is the lack of comments as result. I would had thought this article would be dozens, if not hundreds of comments in as a result of it being linked all over.

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