Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Join me in supporting Maryland's Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act

To all my friends and readers who live in Maryland, I'm asking you to take a few minutes of your time to work for the civil rights of your fellow Marylanders. Our state legislators return to Annapolis this week to begin their 90-day regular session. This is the critical window of time to gather cosponsors for The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. No matter what your religious convictions, I think you will agree that it's time for Maryland to institute freedom of religion. Freedom of religion means that churches, synagogues, mosques or other religious institutions may decide whether to marry any particular couple. No religious institution will be forced to perform or honor the civil marriage of a same-sex couple.

The greater the number of cosponsors, the more pressure on undecided legislators. Legislators will only cosponsor if they hear from their constituents. So it's up to you and me to make sure our legislators know how important this legislation is to the security and well being of LGBT families in Maryland.

Last fall, I had some simple surgery done at one of the many great hospitals in Baltimore. Although in the end everything turned out fine and I'm in great health today, there was a complication during surgery that required me to stay an extra night in the hospital, and to spend one night in the ICU. Fortunately, my surgeon has known both me and my partner for years, and was very compassionate during this stressful time. We know that we are extremely fortunate. In another hospital, with another doctor, my partner could have been completely excluded from my care. As it was, she waited for 6 hours while I was in surgery. Can you imagine if she had been told she could not see me in ICU because she was not "family"?

Without passage of this important legislation, that just as easily could have happened. A marriage license brings with it hundreds of state protections that same-sex couples in Maryland are denied. Here a just a few:
• Ability to extend health insurance benefits to a spouse
• Right to hospital visitation with and to make medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse
• Added protection for children
• Ability to inherit property without incurring tax penalties
• Ability to name your spouse as primary beneficiary of life insurance without him/her incurring tax penalties
• Right to make burial decisions
• Right to sue for wrongful death
With the Court of Appeals failing to end this discrimination, the struggle to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples now turns to our elected officials in Annapolis.

Please join me in contacting our state legislators to ask them to support the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. A civil marriage is a civil right. Please click here to read more about the Act, and to send a message to your state legislators in Annapolis.

6 comments:

scepter66 said...

As always it's all about money, so it's certainly big business right in there trying to keep this sort of discrimination going. Add them the conservative religious zealots and you have a well motivated and powerful adversary.
I'm sure alot of them see this as a way to "encourage" people to enter into a traditional marriage. they would rather have disfunctional families living a lie.
I already signed a door-to-door petition in favor of your cause, and will do whatever else i can to help. good luck

Anonymous said...

Can someone living outside of Maryland add their voice in a manner that helps? Or do out of state voices hinder?

Sue J said...

Scepter66, thanks for your support. It means a lot to both of us!

Anon, I think all voices of support are appreciated. You can find out more about the legislation at EqualityMaryland:

http://www.equalitymaryland.org/

krazy kat said...

Like Sceptor66, I too, have signed a door-to-door petition, as well as sent my voice to my representatives. I support human beings! PEACE OUT

Mauigirl said...

I'm out of state too but will be happy to put in words of support to the Maryland legislature.

I feel marriage is a right that everyone should have. In this day and age I am always amazed at the continued discrimination against same-sex couples in many states. I think in a decade or two it will seem as outdated as laws against miscegenation. I hope so anyway.

Sue J said...

I thank you all for your support on this issue. I really believe this legislation (and similar bills in other states) only makes our society stronger.