In the often emotional debate that has emerged around Question 6 and same-sex marriage, one fact is indisputable: Most Marylanders have never attended a same-sex wedding. I did recently and it was wonderful. My daughter is 30, has a doctorate in psychology and works on domestic violence issues for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Her partner manages an animal shelter there. They have been in love for years and wanted to make a lifelong commitment to each other. On October 20, they were married before 60 family members and friends (and three well-behaved dogs) in Atlanta. The pastor from their United Church of Christ church officiated. The ceremony was touching and the reception was high-spirited, filled with laughter, good food and lots of dancing. Even my 87-year old mother couldn't stay off the dance floor. She welcomed my daughter's partner into the family with open arms, as we all have.
Sexual orientation fades in the face of such compelling love and admirable human chemistry. They are obviously good together as a couple, using their relationship to continually better themselves. My daughter called her partner her moral compass and the kindest and most caring person she knows. The family agrees. Of course, being in Georgia my daughter will not be afforded the rights and privileges that my wife and I take for granted here in Maryland as a heterosexual couple.
During the ceremony, the couple exchanged the following vows:
I promise to be more open to trying new things; I promise to hold your hand and watch something fluffy with you after we watch a scary movie; I promise to support and care for you as generously and compassionately as you do every animal that you work with; I promise to be your partner in the good times and the bad; I promise not to get mad when you throw a bottle of mouthwash at a bug at 2 a.m.; I promise to enjoy growing old with you; I promise to really go for our relationship the way you really go for it on the dance floor; I promise to turn toward you, not away, during times when we disagree; and most of all, I promise to respect and love you in the way you truly deserve because you are my sunrise, my new beginning every day.
As citizens of Maryland, we have the historic opportunity to ensure that everyone is treated equally under the law. I am extremely hopeful that Maryland will become the first state in the country to grant civil marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. It is important to emphasize that the act is called The Civil Marriage Protection Act and specifically protects clergy from having to perform any marriage ceremony that violates their religious beliefs and also affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith. This is about civil rights. And love.
Bruce Lippy, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun