Summer Sale! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Editorial
News Opinion Editorial

Gay marriage and family values

The Episcopal Church took a major step toward recognizing same-sex unions this week when delegates at its triennial General Convention in Indianapolis voted overwhelmingly to allow priests to bestow the church's blessings on gay couples in lifetime committed relationships. Though the resolution stopped just short of declaring the blessing a marriage rite, and its use by priests remains contingent on the approval of local bishops, the move marks a growing acceptance by one of the country's oldest, most established denominations that gay people have always been part of the church and that their presence should be acknowledged in its liturgy.

The church's evolving position on same-sex unions comes just as Maryland opponents of gay marriage are gearing up to overturn the law legalizing same-sex unions passed by the General Assembly earlier this year. On Tuesday, the state Board of Elections certified a petition to put the measure on the November ballot after verifying more than 109,000 signatures submitted by the Maryland Marriage Alliance, a church-led group pushing for repeal. If the measure survives the fall referendum, Maryland would become the first state in the country in which voters approved a gay marriage law on a statewide ballot.

Polls show the public almost evenly divided on the issue, although the trend in recent years has been toward greater acceptance of marriage equality. Like the delegates to the Episcopal Church's convention, a growing number of Marylanders have come to realize that gay couples in long-term, committed relationships have always lived in their midst as neighbors and colleagues who have contributed to their communities. Moreover, many of them are raising families, and the children of those unions are going to be here regardless of the outcome of November's referendum.

As a practical matter, the referendum will decide a narrow question. Because the Court of Appeals has ruled that Maryland must recognize gay marriages performed in other states, all that really is at stake is whether same-sex couples who wish to make a lifelong commitment can be legally joined in a civil marriage ceremony performed in the state, or whether they have to travel a few miles down the road to the District of Columbia.

The philosophical question posed by the referendum, though, is of great significance. Are all Maryland families entitled to the same protections under the law? Are all children, no matter who their parents are, entitled to the same kind of support?

We think they should be, if for no other reason than that it's important for Maryland to be a welcoming place for families of all kinds. The only reason the state is involved in marriage at all is that strong marriages make strong families, and strong families make strong communities. That's true whether the couples involved are gay or straight. The Episcopal Church has recognized this fact; it's not the first denomination to do so, nor will it be the last. We hope that this November, Maryland voters will come to the same conclusion and vote to support marriage for all.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Marriage equality can't wait

    Marriage equality can't wait

    In 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia, there was not a single dissent. Never mind that Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute had been in the books since 1924. The justices unanimously found discrimination in the institution of marriage...

  • How will Kennedy vote on same-sex marriage?

    How will Kennedy vote on same-sex marriage?

    As a long-time civics teacher I follow the Supreme Court's decisions very carefully. I have long admired Justice Anthony Kennedy because he is the swing vote on the court and his decisions are often unpredictable.

  • Court's silence on marriage speaks volumes [Editorial]

    Court's silence on marriage speaks volumes [Editorial]

    Our view: Same-sex marriage is set to be legal in a majority of states, making eventual Supreme Court victory appear inevitable

  • Religious beliefs can't excuse discrimination

    Religious beliefs can't excuse discrimination

    A recent suggestion that some people should be exempt from serving gays because of their religious beliefs is nonsense. If you are licensed to provide a service or employed by the government to do so, you are required to perform that service without unlawful discrimination. Neither government employment...

  • Equality in Alabama

    Equality in Alabama

    These are heady days for advocates of marriage equality. The Supreme Court is due to hear arguments this spring in a group of cases that could settle the question of a national Constitutional right to same-sex marriage, and this week, a decision not to enter a stay on the enforcement of a federal...

  • Yes, some people do follow the Bible to the letter

    Yes, some people do follow the Bible to the letter

    In his recent column ("The conservative case for same-sex marriage," March 29), Eddie Zipperer gives three reasons why conservatives should favor same sex marriage. I find his second, poking fun at the Bible, to be both offensive and ignorant.

  • Get states out of the marriage business

    Get states out of the marriage business

    In light of the recent Supreme Court on same sex marriage being protected under the Constitution ("Freedom to marry," June 27), there is now a movement afoot in Montana by a Mormon, Nathan Collier, who is legally married to Vicki, to be allowed to marry his second wife, Christine. Many have predicted...

  • Selective reading of Leviticus won't justify bigotry

    Selective reading of Leviticus won't justify bigotry

    Letter writer Adam Goldfinger objected to Eddie Zipperer's references to Leviticus and states that he does indeed try to follow the laws in this book ("Yes, some people do follow the bible to the letter," April 3). I find myself wondering how many people Mr. Goldfinger has personally stoned to...

Comments
Loading
81°