As long as Delegate Dwyer and his bigoted buddies are in the Maryland Legislature, marriage equality will continue to be threatened by constitutional amendment's attempting to ban same-sex marriage. Well, any chance to do so this year will bring with it a considerable rise in the stakes of such legislation.
The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that the 2004 Michigan ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage also bars public employers from providing same-sex partner benefits of any kind. It is even more imperative that any same-sex marriage ban in Maryland be stopped and same-sex partner benefits from public employers must be codified and protected.
No matter your position on gay marriage, same-sex partner benefits are a necessity. The goal of these bans are to "protect traditional marriage" and though I won't debate on the merits of that position, I will posit that same-sex partner benefits, applied outside of a marriage, in no way threaten "traditional marriage". In fact, they completely leave it out of the equation.
I have argued before, along with Equality Maryland, that only full marriage rights for homosexuals should be acceptable to Maryland Democrats. But we must do something to ease the unfair burden on same-sex couples, and codifying partner benefits from public employers is a great start.
What would be unacceptable is a same-sex marriage ban that also eliminates the possibility for public institutions such as colleges to offer their employees same-sex benefits.
Want to get involved to to try and stop the same-sex marriage ban? Want to fight for same-sex partner benefits for Maryland's public employees? Equality Maryland is holding a lobbying day on the 12th, in Annapolis. Join them.
If you can't make it, be sure to write your representatives and tell them that you support equality for all Marylanders. Tell them to vote no on the same-sex marriage ban and to codify same-sex marriage benefits for state employees.
Update: Bruce Godfrey, owner of the now sprawling Crabmedia notes in his blog the importance of the coming decision from the Maryland Court of Appeals on the Deane & Polyak v. Conaway case. Lets hope the the Court of Appeals joins with Circuit Court of Baltimore City in finding that the Free State's prohibition on same-sex marriage does not withstand a constitutional challenge.