Sunday, January 22, 2006

Basking in the Limelight of Equality

from The League: Reassembled

Maryland took a step closer to living up to the first two syllables of its name this week when a Baltimore judge ruled that the state's decades-old gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

"Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock immediately stayed her decision" until Attorney General Joseph Curran, Jr. can appeal, according to a Washington Post story.

This is a proud day for Maryland. If Murdock's ruling survives the appeals process, we will join the elite list of states that do not discriminate against gays and lesbians in marriage law. Government has absolutely no business regulating which consenting adult can marry another; it seems Maryland will soon be out of the business.

The decision came a day after Gov. Ehrlich released his legislative agenda for the General Assembly session, which included a proposal to create "an advance-directive registry at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to allow people to file their wishes about end-of-life care," according to The Baltimore Sun. The proposal was Ehrlich's response to the Medical Decision Making Act, an equal rights bill that "would have created a registry for same-sex couples and granted them a number of decision-making protections, many of which cannot be accomplished through advance directives." Ehrlich vetoed that bill.

Although our Governor does not support equal rights for all citizens, he does offer nominal proposals as alternatives to important gay rights bills. So take a guess as to his response to the court decision.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed," Ehrlich was quoted as saying in the Post story. "Again, Maryland is in the national limelight, and it's not positive."

Standing up for equal rights is negative attention in the limelight? Ehrlich's got a warped view of the issue. He can join the Christian fundamentalists and other hate-mongers in our state who are carrying on the torch of inequality from our days as a slave state. Fortunately, our liberal democratic system allows for the judiciary to step in to protect minority rights when elected leaders won't do so (or, in the case of Maryland, when our legislature does so but our Governor vetoes gay-rights bills). Lets hope Judge Murdock's decision is upheld by appeals so that all Marylanders will be treated equally under marriage law. Cause that will put us in the national spotlight. And its something to be damned proud of.

from The League: Reassembled with revisions


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