Thursday, January 20, 2011

Resolution to Support Same-sex Marriage in Maryland

On Tuesday I will introduce a resolution urging the Maryland General Assembly to pass the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act during the 2011 state legislative session. To me it is a question of civil rights. Allowing the thousands of same-sex to legally commit their lives to each other is the right thing to do to make the Free State even freer. I’m pleased that all of my colleagues have signed on as co-sponsors.

The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act would allow same-sex couples in Maryland to apply for and receive marriage licenses and would extend to them all state-administered legal benefits, protections and obligations. It would not compel any religious institution or members of the clergy to marry same-sex couples.

Opposite-sex couples, whose marriages are honored by the government, have access to more than 400 state-administered and more than 1,000 federally-administered benefits, protections and responsibilities that are otherwise unavailable to same-sex families. Many of these vital protections come at times of great vulnerability such as birth, death, illness, disability and unemployment. The federal Defense of Marriage Act still prevents same-sex married couples from accessing federal benefits.

Montgomery County has long been committed to non-discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, genetic status, sex, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity.

It is scheduled for adoption as early as the Council meeting of Feb. 1. It includes the following:

The Montgomery County Council recognizes that the opportunity to publicly and legally commit to share one’s life with the person of one’s choice is of the most central aspects of human experience, and denial of marriage to same-sex couples is the denial of a fundamental civil right.

Therefore, the Montgomery County Council urges:

That the Maryland General Assembly pass the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act to amend state law to remove references to sex and gender as eligibility requirements for a civil marriage license and provide all of the state-administered legal benefits, protections and obligations of marriage, regardless of sexual orientation;

That the Montgomery County Delegation and members of the General Assembly cosponsor, advocate, and vote for passage of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act;

That the Speaker of the House of Delegates and President of the Senate move marriage equality legislation to the floor of their respective chambers for a vote during this legislative session and any subsequent sessions until it is affirmed by a majority of the Assembly;

That the Governor of Maryland sign into law the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act upon its passage by the General Assembly;

That this resolution be sent to the Governor of Maryland, the Honorable Chairs and Members of the Montgomery County House and Senate Delegations, the President of the Maryland Senate and Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates.

No comments: