Thursday, February 02, 2012

Same-sex marriage opponent offers bigotry, misinformation


Letter Published in the Feb. 2, 2012 edition of the Baltimore Sun:

The letter written by David M. Zwald contained a number of dubious assertions that merit a rebuke (“No shortage of reasons to oppose same-sex marriage,” Jan. 30). To begin with, his comment that passing a marriage equality measure would “usher in an era of depravity” is the type of homophobic rhetoric that the public should denounce and dismiss as pure bigotry and which explains the misinformation he freely dispensed.

“Do any dare to tell [our creator] that we are so wise to change his sacred institution,” he asks. To state there is one original law governing marriage is simply not true. Marriage has evolved since the Old Testament where men routinely had five or more wives and concubines existed. Marriage until recently was more about property ownership than anything else.

Mr. Zwald’s concern that legislators cannot fit this important issue during the three-month long General Assembly session is laughable. He may not think the issue is sufficiently important but thousands of Maryland couples, their families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and other supporters do.

He writes that since marriage equality has been defeated at the ballot box every time it has gone before the voters, it should likewise be put up for a vote. I disagree. In our democratic society, putting a minority’s rights up for a popular vote is a vile concept. As an example, I am fairly certain that if interracial marriage had been voted by the general electorate, it most likely would not exist today.

Finally Mr. Zvald states unequivocally but falsely, “Societies everywhere reject same-sex marriage. How are we so smart to overrule what people everywhere else know?” Here is what Mr. Zwald apparently does not know: a number of countries including Canada, Argentina, Spain, South Africa, Portugal, Sweden and others have implemented same-sex marriage. More are on the horizon. Their societies are strong and probably better for it.

In the U.S. there are six states plus D.C that allow loving, committed couples of the same gender to marry. Other states are close. Massachusetts, the first U.S. state to allow such marriages, has the lowest divorce rate in the country. That doesn’t sound like the institution has been threatened.

We need to pass the Civil Marriage Protection Act now. There are sufficient protections for religious organizations and leaders contained in the bill to alleviate the fears expressed by Mr. Zwald.

Steve Charing
Clarksville

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