On Nov. 6, Maryland is poised to make some history. Maryland has the opportunity to become the first state to approach same-sex marriage by popular referendum.
The Republican Party has historically supported equal rights for all individuals. It was Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican, who saw our nation through its bloodiest conflict in order to ensure that all men were born free. When liberty was threatened by Jim Crow, Republicans rose up again to challenge the institutions of power and ensure that freedom, given to us by God and protected by our Constitution, was secured. We are again summoned to defend the sovereignty of the individual.
Same-sex marriage is supported by a wide and varied group of Republicans from former First Lady Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ambassador John Bolton. In fact, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, a former resident of Prince George's County, reminds us that "(a)s Republicans, we are committed to ensuring that the … government play(s) its proper role. Defining marriage is not part of that role." Far too often those who fled to America did so because the state used marriage as a weapon to punish religious minorities. Our English ancestors used the power of the state to delegitimize the marriage of Catholics. Why? Because the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church were at war and the King of England was the head of the Anglican Church. Will we continue their tradition of delegitimizing that which threatens our world view?
Same-sex couples want the same thing that we all do: individual dignity, access to good jobs, good schools and good government without overbearing regulations or taxes. By opposing the repeal of same-sex marriage in Maryland, we would be removing a barrier that prevents our party from reaching out to the many individuals who share our vision of America.
I ask all Republicans to stand for liberty. In supporting liberty, we will continue our glorious tradition rooted in Abraham Lincoln and the Founding Fathers.
Jason Papanikolas is chairman of the Republican Central Committee for Prince George's County. His views are his own and do not reflect the policy or position of the Prince George's Republican Party.