Friday, March 11, 2011

Sometimes They Listen

After 97 posts on “The Maryland Crustacean”, I am finally writing something about the State of Maryland.  Well, sort of.  Last night I sent emails to at least 16 members of the Maryland House of Delegates.  Each individually addressed message was short and sweet:

I am writing to respectfully urge you to vote NO on any bill attempting to legalize marriage for same sex couples. Such a bill would make a mockery of the institution of marriage and would further erode the social and moral fabric of our state and nation.

To be honest, I was not optimistic that any write-in or call-in campaign would have any effect on Maryland politicians.  Though I love this beautiful state where I have lived all my life, it is hopelessly liberal in its politics. We have one of the nation’s highest tax rates, and Democrats hold a three-to-one edge in registered voters, who mindlessly elect liberal Democrats, who in turn show their gratitude by raising taxes even higher and passing legislation that is diametrically opposed to the moral values of their constituents.  This is especially true in Baltimore City and in my home county of Prince George’s, where larger left leaning populations more than offset the more conservative rural counties.
Given the political demographics of my state and the buildup of momentum in support of the deceptively named Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act,”, I was resigned to the probability that Maryland would be the next domino to fall in the descent toward “gay marriage” So imagine my surprise when I received an email reply from one of my county’s delegates thanking me for my support and informing me that the bill was returned to the Judiciary Committee in a tacit acknowledgement that there were not enough votes for the bill to pass.  I was particularly pleased to learn that many of the delegates listened to the outcry from African American churches.  As reported by Reuters,
Gay rights supporters anticipated success this year in a handful of states -- Maryland, New York and Rhode Island -- due largely to newly elected lawmakers expected to tip the balance in favor of making gay marriage legal. Maryland legislators on Friday, however, dashed those hopes. In a spirited debate, many African American delegates said they felt pressured to act according to the wishes of their constituency, including black churches opposed to using the word "marriage" to describe same-sex relationships

So I am celebrating this evening because, at least in this one instance, democracy worked. Sometimes they do listen to the people. But my celebration is sobered by the thought that what almost passed in the State of Maryland is even a matter of serious debate. There are plenty of reasons for this, but I will focus on one. It does not have so much to do with homosexuality and civil rights, but rather with marriage itself.

In a previous post entitled Libertarianism and Legislating Morality I questioned why government was involved in the marriage business at all. It is, after all, a religious sacrament. I imagine that, absent government involvement, those who are not religiously inclined enough to tie the knot in church would just decide to live together. Many in fact do.

So how did the government get involved? Other than the unfortunate blurring of church and state throughout history, I imagine that a sensible government would have a compelling interest in preserving marriage as a building block to a stable society. It would also want to establish certain protections for women and children from being abandoned by perfidious husbands or fathers who no longer had any use for them. This was very much the case before it became so easy to get a divorce, when marriage was actually expected to be a lifelong commitment. Now it is just a contractual arrangement that confers certain legal rights and tax advantages, easily dissolvable should one or both parties decide to call it quits. No wonder gays want in on the act. (They might otherwise think twice if it were truly “till death do us part”.)

So hooray for Maryland (at least for now) for not falling to politically correct forces clamoring for “gay marriage”. On the other hand, I don’t think this issue is going away. Maybe the better solution is to get government out of the marriage business.


JD Curtis said...

I was suprised also. I thought it would be a done deal.

Given the large number of black Christians lobbying that the bill not be passed, you would think certain rocket scientists would finally put to rest once and for all the argument of comparing the civil rights movement of the 60" that was so helpful for blacks to militant gay activism.

The Maryland Crustacean said...

The other glimmer of hope I see in this is that maybe... just maybe.. people might start to realize that Democrats should not be taking the African American vote for granted. The jury is still out. Next door in D.C., the city council members flipped the bird toward African American churches objecting to gay marriage. Apparently, enough Democrat Delegates in Maryalnd thought better of it, thinking it was perhapa not a good idea to ignore their constituents..