2012 Legislative Session - Marriage Equality
SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY 2012
THE CIVIL MARRIAGE PROTECTION ACT (SB 241)
SB 241, THE CIVIL MARRIAGE PROTECTION ACT, would secure the rights of two persons, as legal, consenting adults, to marry (changing the stipulation of a “man and a woman” to “two persons”). This bill also clearly stipulates that no religious institution would be forced by the state to perform or sanctify marriages that conflict with the faith tenets of the institution. This legislation has been introduced by the Governor and is a top priority of his Administration as well as many key legislators. It will pass if hundreds of people contact their legislators now and until it passes asking them to vote YES.
Other bills may arise supporting civil unions. UULM does not support legislation that separates the status of constituents. “Separate but equal” measures do not manifest true equality.
Why UUs Support Marriage Equality
Unitarian Universalists have been on the forefront of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights for decades. The consistency and integrity of our justice claims sends a strong and steady message that advocacy for equal rights for all is a sustainable faith principle.
We believe in freedom and justice for all, without reservation or judgment of being, because we affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We are each born a unique gesture of creation that has the sacred right to thrive in our fullness. How can we deny the healing power of love in another’s life? We are not in charge of another’s being or choice in loving.
Passage of this bill is an action for justice, equity and compassion in human relations, and an affirmation of our respect for the interdependent web of all existence. Each one of us informs the whole. We must have equal access to the rights and responsibilities of a society to fully dwell within it. In a democratic society, all people must have equal protection under law.
Background on Marriage Equality
In the preamble of the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of Maryland it clearly states gratitude for “our civil and religious liberty”. Denying certain constituents from full citizenry and societal participation does not resonate with civil and religious liberty. Any attempts to encode such discrimination in law are gestures of fear of difference, not of fortitude of state. Such attempts cynically embolden the majority to take power from a minority to secure special rights and responsibilities, exclusive access to institutions and unequal support in the building and nurturing of families.
The Civil Marriage Protection Act is a legislative initiative to nullify the many religious arguments that disable the work toward equal rights for all citizens. This law would not redefine religious marriage or any religious sacrament. It is simply an act to give all Marylanders access to a civil marriage license. In stating clearly that religious institutions will not be forced to sanction marriages, religious liberty is kept intact.
When the arguments for “the crumbling of society as we know it” arise, the statistics, testimonies, professional studies, and anecdotes from states that have achieved marriage equality defy the fear-based assumptions of the “demise” of society.
What we offer, as Unitarian Universalists, is an instant counter argument toward the assumption that “people of faith” would be marginalized. Not necessarily. And we have many, many partners – growing in numbers from all walks of faith -- who call for the protection of all families and support the dignity of all.
How Can UUs Get Involved and Have A Voice?
Continued advocacy by UUs as people of faith is essential. UULM-MD can be a resource to UUs, UU congregations, and UU groups. UULM-MD provides resources and information to educate ourselves and others about UU priority issues and assures that the significant voices of UUs are heard in Annapolis. UULM-MD is a key member of two new important coalitions: Faith for Equality ( www.mdfaitheq.org ) and Marylanders for Marriage Equality (www.MarylandersforMarriageEquality.org ) that bring together supporting organizations including Equality Maryland ( www.equalitymaryland.org ) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (www.thetaskforce.org ). UULM-MD works also with the UU State Advocacy Networks and Standing on the Side of Love (www.standingonthesideoflove.org ).
Maryland Clergy Standing on the Side of Love –This is a 2 minute and 23 second video documenting clergy from a variety of faiths and UUs communicating Now Is The Time to pass marriage equality legislation. Copies were delivered to every legislator.
Why We Stand: Voices of Faith, Conviction, and Love!--This 15 minute video features advocacy messages and actions by UUs and leaders of other faiths in Maryland. The goal is to motivate individuals to be involved in passing marriage equality legislation. The video includes stories from individuals, families, clergy, elected officials; marriage equality programs, rallies, press conferences; and music by Emma’s’ Revolution.
These can be used on Sundays before, in between, or after services; at educational programs to stimulate discussions; at house parties; and other events. UULM-MD has suggestions for educational programs, letter writing events, and open panels, moderated in the true spirit of democracy and growth in knowledge of one another. UULM-MD can be a resource on Valentines to legislators, op-eds, letters to the editor, and additional background materials
Rev. Lisa Ward, Coordinator
UULM-MD LGBT Task Force