From the New Harford Democratic Club:
Maryland’s new Civil Marriage Equality Act would protect all children no matter who their parents are and would not negate religious prohibitions on same sex marriage, according to representatives of the coalition supporting the law, who spoke to the New Harford Democratic Club.
Manley Calhoun, representing Marylanders for Marriage Equality, and Lisa Ward, minister of the Harford County Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, were invited to the club’s April meeting to discuss the coalition’s efforts to turn back efforts by those opposed to the law. The state legislature recently approved the bill to allow civil marriages in Maryland but opponents are expected to collect enough signatures to put the law to referendum in November.
Calhoun said the law would protect families, including children and spouses, who under current law are denied certain legal rights, such as health insurance coverage and survivors benefits.
“This is not a religious argument, but a legal one,” said Ward. “Churches and other religious organizations, would still have the right to choose not to perform wedding ceremonies for same sex couples.” Calhoun said that opponents of the marriage equality act are making the claim that it interferes with religious freedom in order to drive a wedge between traditional supporters of the Democratic party.
Calhoun asked for support from club members in their efforts to turn back the anti-marriage equality efforts. He said anti groups will make a major effort to defeat the law, which is expected to be on the ballot in November. Although the law was approved in the 2012 legislative session, it was not set to go into effect until January 2013 in anticipation of a referendum.
Following the presentation, the club voted to support the coalition with a monetary contribution.