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.