Maryland Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban

From the Washington Post:
Maryland's highest court yesterday upheld a 34-year-old state law banning same-sex marriage, rejecting an attempt by 19 gay men and lesbians to win the right to marry.

In reversing a lower court's decision, the divided Court of Appeals ruled that limiting marriage to a man and a woman does not discriminate against gay couples or deny them constitutional rights. Although the judges acknowledged that gay men and lesbians have been targets of discrimination, they said the prohibition on same-sex marriage promotes the state's interest in heterosexual marriage as a means of having and protecting children.
Once again the old "save the children" routine; the same old crap about straight marriage being the only way to have and protect children, and that it's the only reason people get married in the first place. It's just another red herring to cover their ass against the anticipated backlash from the Religious Reich, and it smacks of the old excuses racists used to come up with in their fight against mixed marriages: it would destroy all the other marriages, and what about the children?

I get tired of repeating the same old arguments, but it seems that every so often it has to be said again until it sinks in: not everyone -- straight or gay -- gets married for the express purpose of having children; no one has shown that gay marriage has an impact on straight marriage (unless you count people like Larry Craig and Ted Haggard who, given the choice, might have dumped their wives and gone with their instincts); no one has proven that children raised in same-sex households are any more disadvantaged than those raised in straight households, and if the state was so adamant in protecting children, perhaps it would do a better job of taking care of the children it already has by providing them with decent health care and education. But it's a lot easier to talk about protecting them than it is to actually do it.
Chief Judge Robert M. Bell issued a sharp dissent, accusing the majority of failing to recognize gay people as a "suspect class," a group that warrants special protection from discrimination. Bell dismissed the majority view that gays are politically empowered and should not be viewed as such a class.
If gay people were truly politically empowered, then there wouldn't be any laws on the books that discriminate against them, now would there?
The 4 to 3 decision cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court because the lawsuit relied solely on state law. But the judges appeared to invite gay rights advocates to pursue their goals through the political system: "Our opinion should by no means be read to imply that the General Assembly may not grant and recognize for homosexual persons civil unions or the right to marry a person of the same sex," Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. wrote for the majority.
I agree; it is time for the state legislatures to step up to plate and pass the laws. That has been effective in the nine states that now recognize some form of gay marriage or civil unions. It will require facing down groups like Focus on the Family and the rest of the finger-wagging jowl-shaking busybodies, but it would be worth it just to force them into the position of having to come out and say, "Hey, we're just a bunch of snivelling bigots." As if that isn't already patently obvious.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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