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City Council to Vote on Controversial Same-Sex Marriage Bill Tomorrow

Set to Change.. Definition of traditional marriage in MD

In tomorrow’s Council meeting, the College Park City Council will vote if it should send a letter of support to the General Assembly in support of a proposed controversial same-sex marriage bill.

The bill has not been introduced yet, and no bill number is available at the time of this writing, however there have been much talk around and a draft of the letter that the City plans to send in support of the bill is already in the works.

By any measure, the proposed bill is extremely controversial and has generated highly emotional and complex debate among residents living across the state.

The State does not require the City to take a position on a bill. The municipalities do not normally take positions on controversial social issues like this one.

Opponents argue that the bill would change the definition of traditional marriage as defined in Maryland’s State Law Article 2-201: ”Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State.”

Supporters think the proposed bill would ensure that rights and responsibilities extend to all qualified couples in the State of Maryland, regardless of their gender. Although opponents argue that business owners could be forced to supply materials for same-sex marriage union or risk accusations of discrimination. In a recent statement, a group of Catholic bishops said other business owners could be forced to supply materials for such a union or risk accusations of discrimination. Employers could also be forced to honor same-sex marriages through health care laws, they said.

If the Maryland proposal had passed this year, “Religious business owners like florists, bakers, musicians, or photographers would not have been able to decline to participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony,” the statement says.

Supporters however think that Maryland State law already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, and this bill would have no impact on the requirement that businesses provide equal services to same-sex couples without discrimination.

Supporters also point to a religious exemption that would prevent religious officials and churches from having to recognize any relationship that does not conform with their religious beliefs. However, many opposed to the bill say that the acceptance of a “marriage” between a same-sex couple would be against the teachings of their faiths.

Please email me or drop me a line on how you see the bill and your thoughts on the City Council  sending a letter to MD State assembly in regards to this bill.

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7 Comments to “City Council to Vote on Controversial Same-Sex Marriage Bill Tomorrow”

  1. By Adil Faisal, January 23, 2012 @ 7:36 am

    Marriage is between man and woman. This view is held sacred by all GOD-fearing, GOD-loving Christians, Jews and Muslims – within your constituency. Show of College Park’s official support to legalize same-sex marriage will be a slap in the face of these constituents. I request you to act accordingly.

    District 1

  2. By AcCoy, January 23, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    Not sure, why Council is so fervent to vote on this controversial issue and send a letter to the General Assembly in favor, when the State absolutely does not require the City to take a position on the bill? I would request all the council members including you to oppose this bill and send the state a letter disapproving this.

  3. By Mahboob, January 23, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    I strongly oppose this bill.I already have expressed my feeling of opposing the same sex marriage bill to other members of college park city council.Furthermore city of college park should not have any concern on this matter.

  4. By Liz M, January 23, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    Fazlul –

    My partner Jennifer and I live in your district, and we encourage you to vote for this letter of support, as the passage of this bill will have a profound effect on my family. We are proud parents of a sweet, energetic, and happy 2 year old boy. Would you really tell my son that his family doesn’t deserve the same legal rights and recognition as yours?

    I have yet to hear a coherent argument on how the passage of this bill would hurt straight families, yet the lack of access to legal marriage has a major impact on our family’s economic well-being. Not having civil marriage recognition has cost my family over $10,000 the last three years, mostly in the form of legal fees, extra taxes, and increased health insurance costs. In these difficult economic times, my family is at a distinct disadvantage because the state doesn’t legally recognize our relationship.

    With respect to Mr. Faisal, our church community at St. George’s Episcopal in Glenn Dale is wonderfully supportive of our family. We intend to celebrate our 10th anniversary this year with a legal wedding ceremony, and should the marriage bill pass, we hope to be able to have this ceremony at our church.

    The bill coming forward in the General Assembly is about equality and fairness under the law. It is time that all Maryland families have the same legal recognition, regardless of sexual orientation. We ask you to please support my family, and others like us who live in your district, and vote yes on the letter of support for the same-sex marriage bill being considered by the General Assembly.

  5. By Ellen Fielding, January 24, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

    I oppose the City Council sending a letter on this matter. I think it is wrong for the Council to imply by sending such a letter that they are representing their constituents on this. During last fall’s campaign, as is always the case in my memory, the candidates who came door to door to my house did not discuss this or other issues that do not come under the Council’s purview. In these local elections, naturally we are focusing on the candidate’s views about local concerns, rather than on a matter of state or national law that may be part of a party platform or set of issues that the council member may personally support, vote on (in state and national elections), and work for. To me, it isn’t right for the Council to thrust itself corporately into a state debate on which their constituents already express themselves individually and through their state elected officials.

  6. By Paul Browne, January 25, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    I have no idea why this is ‘controversial’ – it has to do with civil marriage, and thereby does not have anyhing to do with anyone’s religion. If religion should be an influence on public law, should we be implementing Cannon Law, Halakha, or Sharia? If not, if any of that idea is abhorrent to our constitution and tradition of separation of church (or synagogue, temple or mosque) and state, and foreign to our ideals of equal citizens with equal rights, then how could there be any objections to the council sending this letter?

    As to the idea of a referendum, consider this: When Loving vs. Virginia was decided, it’s pretty clear that a referendum overturning it wuold have easily passed in the US; most voters would have voted to keep laws against black and white people marrying each other. Would that have made those laws right and fair and good? Or do we have written down rights so that a minority must never go cap in hand to the majority to beg for its equality? It’s insulting to have you vote on my marriage when I cannot vote on yours.

  7. By Lee, January 26, 2012 @ 8:00 am

    Paul,
    You have as much a right to “marry” as anyone else. If you are a male, you can marry any female you want, within limits, I suppose of age category; and of course, we don’t live in a place where you are “forced” to marry some woman your parents choose for you, such as in some countries. If you are a female, you can marry whatever male will have you – but you can’t force that person under law. Government doesn’t force you to marry, nor does it give a woman a “right” to force marriage on a particular male that she would like to have as a spouse. Freedom works that way, doesn’t it? So, you are either a male or female. And, I don’t see any freedom you are lacking that others have.

    Now, if we get to the surreal, let’s consider an example: suppose you are a male; you think you should make government give you a right to be a “female” — no one else has that right. So, I don’t think you are being denied any right that others have in this area. I don’t think empowering government to give you that “right” is sensible, logical or consistent with natural laws. For example, if you are 20 years old, it’s not sensible that government give you a right to declare yourself to be “15” instead. That seems insane to me. Tell me what I’m missing here.