For anyone who still thinks the anti-same-sex marriage amendments and proposals of the last several years were motivated by anything other than bigotry, consider today’s news from Maryland’s highest court:
A divided Court of Appeals ruled that Maryland’s 1973 ban on gay marriage does not discriminate on the basis of gender and does not deny any fundamental rights, and that the state has a legitimate interest in promoting opposite-sex marriage.
I’m sure the reasoning to get to “legitimate interest” for denying equality is faulty, but I’ll leave that analysis to other bloggers. Instead, I want to focus on this:
“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 four-judge majority, which also included Judges Dale R. Cathell, Clayton Greene Jr. and Alan M. Wilner.
It’s a cop-out because our rights are not decreed by legislatures, as the Court seems to be implying. However, the Court is definitely saying that the legislature may offer rights beyond the (incorrect) boundary for marriage it has set. That quote is easy enough to interpret.
“I think it was the legitimate response,” [Delegate Don Dwyer, R-Anne Arundel] said. “They did as other states have done and ordered the legislature to act.”
Dwyer, one of the General Assembly’s most conservative members, said he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, as he has three times in the past, “to make sure we have the insurance to make sure this will not come up again in the future.”
The Court ruled in agreement with Dwyer’s¹ position. It’s temporary in my opinion, but his side has won. He can’t accept that as vindication. He has to make certain that gays and lesbians in Maryland never get full access to their rights. That’s what bigotry looks like.
¹ Del. Dwyer’s made appearances here in the past on this issue. In January 2006, he sought to impeach Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock for ruling that same-sex marriage restrictions violate the Maryland Constitution. Once an activist legislator, always an activist legislator, apparently.