Friday, January 7, 2011

An interesting twist on same-sex marriage in Maryland

Maryland, which was deeply socially conservative when I grew up there, may be the second jurisdiction and first actual state south of the Mason-Dixon line to recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples. An interesting twist has arisen in the debate:
But with a coterie of moderate Democrats and vocal Republicans opposing any endorsement of gay rights, same-sex marriage isn't quite a done deal. This week, a complication entered the picture, with the Senate's minority leader announcing that he plans to introduce a bill that would create civil unions for gay and straight couples.

"My goal is to have complete equality," Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) said. In a sense.

If he had his druthers, Kittleman would do away with civil marriage altogether, he said, making it a purely religious institution. But that would have left straight couples high and dry vis-a-vis the federal government, which wouldn't extend the benefits of marriage to those who are merely united civilly.

* * *

But civil unions are a non-starter among Democrats who support gay rights. They are intrigued by Kittleman's embrace of secularism but see no need for half-measures.

"Let's have that discussion," [Morgan] Meneses-Sheets[, director of Equality Maryland,] said. "But in the meantime, we have to provide access to the institution we do have."
Kittleman has stated that he wants government "out of the marriage business." As someone who favors privatization of marriage, I see Kittleman's point. Nonetheless, as I have said before, and as Meneses-Sheets would apparently agree, we should not let the perfect that is a way off be the enemy of the good that is within our grasp.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like Kittleman, I would prefer government "out of the marriage business" but that's not going to happen because of all the "entitlements" (SS "survivors' benefits" etc) that go with government recognition of hetero marriage.