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November 30, 2011

Foes of same-sex marriage launch coalition

Religious opponents of a planned push to bring same-sex marriage to Maryland have launched a new coalition, bringing their organizing efforts into two Democratic strongholds that are expected to be a battleground for the votes of African-American legislators.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, described as a multi-racial and bipartisan coalition of supporters of the traditional definition of marriage, held a news conference Wednesday morning in Prince George's County and planned a second kickoff event in the afternoon in Baltimore.

Supporters of same-sex marriage, who came up just short of success in the House of Delegates this year after winning a close vote in the Senate, plan a renewed effort during the 2012 General Assembly session. Unlike last year, when they had only the tacit support of Gov. Martin O'Malley, they are expecting the governor to make their cause a part of his legislative program.

Maryland Marriage Alliance organizers said proponents of same-sex marriage believe that victory in inevitable.

"We have something to say about that inevitability, and with all humility let me say: Bring it on," said the Rev. Victor Kirk, senior pastor of Sharon Bible Fellowship in Temple Hills in Prince George's County.

An estimated 70-80 clergy and other Catholic and Protestant leaders gathered at St. Stephen's Baptist Church in Temple Hills for the morning news conference. While those attending were almost entirely Protestants and Catholics, alliance spokeswoman Julia Vidmar said the organization will actively seek the participation of Mormon, Jewish, Islamic and other faith groups.

The alliance will be led by Pastor Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Family Alliance. McCoy said no elected officials were expected for the Temple Hills event, but he said he expects church groups to have a significant influence on lawmakers in Prince George's and Baltimore.

"We're going to continue to expand and reach more and more people, but we understand all politics is local," McCoy said.

Republicans, with the exception of Sen. Allan H. Kittleman of Howard County, are expected to provide a solid bloc of votes against any effort to recognize same-sex marriage. The battle, as it did last year, could largely come down to a handful of African-American delegates who normally vote with their party but are influenced by conservative churches on matters of family and marriage.

Deacon Al Turner, representing the Office of Black Catholics for the Archdiocese of Washington, said the group has not come together to oppose other legal accommodations for gay people -- just to assert that marriage between a man and a woman is unique.

"No one here would tolerate a hint of discrimination," he said.

But some alliance members accused same-sex marriage proponents of being less respectful. "Those who oppose it must be treated as bigots," said St. Stephens Pastor Lanier Tyman, who charged that adoption of marriage rights for same-sex couples would lead to violations of the clergy's right to free speech and an eventual government mandate to perform such weddings.

But Lisa Polyak, a spokeswoman for Equality Maryland, said proponents have no such intentions.

“We are 100 percent in support of religious liberty of even people who don’t agree with us,” she said. "Allowing same-sex couples to obtain a civil marriage license in no way impairs or diminishes religious liberty,”

Polyak said proponents also have a coalition --- Marylanders for Marriage Equality – that also includes .African-American leaders and clergy. She mentioned former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond; civil rights hero Rep. Johns Lewis and the Rev. Al Sharpton as African-Americans who have publicly supported same-sex marriage.

African-American gays and lesbians, she said, are doubly discriminated against on the basis of race and sexual orientation, Polyak said.

“There are African-American citizens in the city and in Prince George’s County who doubly need these protections,” she said.


Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:50 AM | | Comments (21)
        

Comments

With all due respect to the clergy, they need to read the Constitution and get out of this discussion. The state's marriage debate has NOTHING to do with religion. They can continue to accept / reject gay marriage as they want to IN THEIR CHURCH.

The discussion in the legislature is about CIVIL (think courthouse), not religious (think church) marriages. They need to know their place.

Australian Man Marries His Pet Dog

http://bit.ly/uSk70G

Yeah...never happen here.

COMMENT: It's clear from the item that the so-called "marriage" was a joke. The "ceremony" occurred without sanction from Australian law. One could have the same type of cermenony in Maryland and it would be entirely legal while having no basis in law. So this item, while amusing, says nothing about the merits of the marriage debate here--mtd.

And I assume all of these churches who have decided to jump into the political arena have also agreed to give up their tax exempt status, right?

COMMENT: Churches are free to advocate on public issues without giving up their tax-exempt status. It's when they endorse candidates that their status can be called into queestion. There's something about this debate that brings out the red herrings on both sides.--mtd

These religious folks forget that the US Constitution is bigger than their religious beliefs. There was a time when the RCC would burn gays and lesbians at the stake. The RCC must be very proud of its heritage.

"No one here would tolerate a hint of discrimination," he said.

Unless it's against gay people. C'mon, it's obvious these people are in fact bigoted against gay people, and seek to impose their religiously-based version of marriage on the rest of us. Plenty of white churches opposed interracial marriage--you'd think all African-American opponents of same-sex marriage would be able to see the analogy with same-sex marriage (and many do, of course). But in a lot of cases it's apparently only discrimination if it's based on one's own minority status, not anyone else's . . .

Catholic churches needs to know their bounderies..... It seems to me they are dictating the government on what to do with the gays.... In same sex marriage law in MD, churches are not obliged to give a wedding service for gays so what are they fussing about? They are always on something; they can't even settle their sex scandals! And if they really thought that gay marrige is a threat to traditional marriage then those religious churches need to get rid off the divorce! Same sex marriage will happen in America, not now, but pretty soon!

vote against so-called same gender marriage,my good people's.Don't allow this DEVIANCE into maryland.I voted for an amenment to the colorado constitution,to ban same gender marriage,it passed.Adios from colorado kevin-kelly

kevin kelly, Perhaps you could better spend your time learning to write, spell, etc., rather than hating. This is a state by state decision, so please keep your Colorado hate in Colorado. PS - What is "so-called" about same gender marriage?

Actually, I believe any tax exempt, non-profit organization (including churches) can lose its tax exempt status if it can be shown that more than an "insubstantial" amount of their budget goes to lobbying.

COMMENT: But grassroots advocacy does not necessarily equate to lobbying.--mtd

Listen Up Roman Catholic Church. Until you can keep your Priests from raping children, please keep your preaching on what's moral to yourself. While way more than 50% of Americans support same gender marriage, less than 1% (the perverts themselves) support raping little boys!

Following the comments so far, the issue I have as an opponent of same sex marriage as it is on the table is the Marriage part, not the same sex part per se. Marriage is an ancient faith tradition - a holy sacrament endorsed by Christ himself - and has been well defined over centuries. In years past, that definition simply became reflected and regulated in civil law in the US, like most places in the world. As such we are opposed to any modification of this sacrament in any way. In fact, we as human beings have no authority to do so in the first place, in my view.

Actually Tom, marriage started out as a legal CONTRACT, not a sacrament. (See ancient Greece & Rome, predating Christianity). Marriage was about property rights, not human rights.

This being 2011, let's have a proper civil discussion and leave the sacraments to the churches. Sacraments don't belong in the legislature.

As a heterosexual woman married to a heterosexual man, I have a message for all opponents of same-sex marriage:

I do not need you, the state of Maryland, or the federal government, to defend my marriage.

My marriage is just fine.

If you are so concerned about the state of your marriages, why don't you go work on your marriages?

If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married.

This blather about priests being forced to perform marriages they don't agree with is laughable. It's a sideshow attempt to divert from the absurdness of their REAL objection
(which is, "my god doesn't like gay people", well, guess what, I don't really give a hoot what your God says and it is utterly irrelevant since marriage is not a religious issue.)

Tom, your earnestness is sweet, really, but again, marriage is a civil and legal contract, not a religious one. Trust me, my very vanilla heterosexual marriage ain't got nothing to do with your Christ, who I am sure was a very nice man, but exactly how is a jewish man who has been dead for centuries relevant in this discussion of civil liberties? Shouldn't you be out dedicating your life to the poor if Jesus and his concerns are of paramount importance to you?

I got married in a very pagan ceremony, how come my marriage does not offend you? How come you don't want ME to call my marriage a civil union instead of a marriage? Should people who get married in the courthouse only be able to call it a civil union? Millions of non-christian, non-jewish, non-anything people get married each year. How come we get to be MARRIED? Oh yeah because marriage is a CIVIC MATTER.

Your objection is totally about the same sex thing, because you get squicky about gays, well, just get over it already, it ain't got scratch to do with you son.

Don't really get the "free speech of the clergy" bit. Anyone with a black coat and access to a pulpit can thunder like Micah against anything that irks him: Working on the Sabbath; the Demon Rum; women wearing trousers; two dudes getting hitched up. All of these, apart from the last, are legal and all can be the subject of clerical disapprobation.

That dog won't hunt.

The laws of man will never supersede The Laws of God.

In every state where "gay marriage" was legalized, the radical homosexuals next made a beeline for the public schools where they indoctrinate and recruit children into their lifestyle. Because "gay marriage" is legal, you as a parent have NO RIGHTS when it comes to opting your child out of the indoctrination. Here is a FOX news video to illustrate exactly what I'm talking about when I say "indoctrination":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oQ0qQ8nJCw

I've been a straight Christian clergyman, married 40+ years with ten children identifying with gay equality for years and this argument by "jho" is one of the best I've seen:
"As a heterosexual woman married to a heterosexual man, I have a message for all opponents of same-sex marriage:

I do not need you, the state of Maryland, or the federal government, to defend my marriage. My marriage is just fine.

If you are so concerned about the state of your marriages, why don't you go work on your marriages?

If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married.
. . .
I got married in a very pagan ceremony, how come my marriage does not offend you? How come you don't want ME to call my marriage a 'civil union' instead of a marriage? Should people who get married in the courthouse only be able to call it a 'civil union'? Millions of non-christian, non-jewish, non-anything people get married each year. How come we get to be MARRIED? Oh yeah because marriage is a CIVIC MATTER.

Your objection is totally about the same sex thing, because you get squicky about gays, well, just get over it already, it ain't got scratch to do with you."

@ Bawlamer Merlin,

While you may believe this with all your heart, you are a citizen of the United States, which is governed, not by your god, but by the Constitution, which specifically trumps your god.

Your god may well reign in your house of worship (except that its employees are bound by -- and protected by -- civil law, its physical plant and facilities are inspected and approved by civil authorities, and its political activities are restricted by civil law ... but I digress), but that god has no place iin MY civil law. Absolutely none.

@ Mary Waterton,

It is impossible to "recruit" kids (or anyone else) into homosexuality. Homosexuality is as innate and intrinsic as is your (I presume) heterosexuality. What I think you are referring to are efforts by those who think the schools have a responsibility to teach tolerance and acceptance of those who are different. Call this "," if you will, but it is no different than indoctrination into other values of a civil society. Moreover, in this particular case, it has the added benefit of assuring Gay kids (and they are there, believe me) that they have worth beyond the slurs and hatred the likes of you would have them endure.

Good Job leaders. Way to stand up for the teachings of Christ. This is American and Religious freedom is still available per the Constitution.

Those who are not of Faith have a right to promote a more permissive, self gratifying culture that changes societal laws to place a premium on adult sex rather than responsible procreation for the benefit of providing children with both a mother and a father.

Moreover, the people of Faith have the right to promote a more family oriented, morally centered society based on their beliefs and the founding fathers beliefs of Christianity with an emphasis on children, family and community.

So yes, pastors, people of faith, atheist, etc. all have a right to promote and lobby for the values that they believe in.

For those who do not believe that this country was founded based on Judeo-Christian values, below are some direct quotes from the founding fathers:

"It is when a people forget GOD that tyrants forge their chains."
- Patrick Henry
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
- John Adams
"I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our CREATOR."
- Thomas Jefferson
“The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that GOD governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
- Benjamin Franklin

These are the stubburn facts and inconvenient truths about Marriage and Religious Freedom for those who are willing to read.

Thanks Willing to Read,

Gotta love people who say "look at the constitution", where all they will find is exactly the right that entitles religious people to organize views such as this in the public. Separation of Church and State is a myth drawn from people who have not read the constitution, a phrase in fact derived from personal letters by Jefferson. Certainly bearing no legal weight.

To all you constitutional defenders out there, how about you take a glance at Article 36 of our own state constitution? Should clear up a few things for you before you go spouting off again.

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

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