Tag: same sex marriage

Will Obama’s New Attitude about Gay Marriage Really Make a Difference in Maryland?

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Looks like Barack Obama’s “evolving” views on gay marriage have finally completed their evolution. The president “came out” in favor of same sex marriage after his vice president went off script on a talk show declaring his own absolute comfort with marriage equality.

With Maryland anticipating a photo-finish referendum on gay marriage in November, and with much of this bluest of blue state’s indecisiveness on the issue credited to socially conservative black voters, speculation abounds as to whether the president’s new attitude (which, by the way, is actually his old attitude) will sway African-Americans.

The Daily Beast has declared that it already is, but as much as identity and affinity do to shape a voter’s views, treating the “black vote,” and especially “the black Christian vote,” as a political monolith seems foolish, and counter to what we’ve seen already. Baltimore’s Rev. Larry Brumfield has been very vocal in his support of marriage equality, as has Delman Coates, pastor to the 8,000-member Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Prince George’s County. And those are religious leaders!

Either way it will be interesting – to say the least – to see what happens in November.

Poll: Marylanders Divided on Same Sex Marriage

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Courtesy of Center Maryland – Maryland voters remain sharply divided on the state’s new same-sex marriage law, according to a new poll from OpinionWorks, with opponents of the law slightly ahead of supporters 43 percent to 40 percent.

“Although this result is within the poll’s margin of error, it is the intensity of feeling among same-sex marriage opponents that causes the overall result to lean slightly towards repeal,” said Steve Raabe, OpinionWorks President. While 37% of Maryland voters “strongly” feel they will vote to make same-sex marriage illegal in Maryland, only 31% of voters strongly feel they will vote to make it legal.

The poll of 601 Maryland registered voters — which was paid for by OpinionWorks and not commissioned by any advocacy group — was conducted March 16 to March 19, and has a margin of error of 4.0 percent.

To read the complete polling memo from OpinonWorks — including a look at different regions of the state and subgroups of voters by such categories as age and religious intensity — click here.

How Do You Sell Maryland Republicans on Gay Marriage?

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The fate of same-sex marriage in Maryland — at least for the immediate future — could be in the hands of a few Republicans. The marriage equality bill proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley will be unlikely to pass the House of Delegates without the “yea” of at least a couple GOP legislators.

Proponents of the bill are reaching out to a quarter of House Republicans. So far, they’re attempting to frame the issue as one of civil liberties, appealing to the libertarian sensibilities of some Republicans, as well as pointing out the growing support for gay marriage even among the youth, even Republicans. For those with religious objections (which, in Maryland at least, describes some Democrats as well), perhaps they could point to Delman Coates, a baptist pastor in Prince George’s County who supports gay marriage as a civil rights issue, irrespective of his personal views on homosexuality.

If that doesn’t work, maybe proponents could offer to add a section to the bill requiring all same-sex couples to raise their children Republican. Just an idea.

Baltimore County Latest to Honor Health Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

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2012 will mark the beginning of Baltimore County extending health benefits to its employee’s same-sex spouses.  The policy change comes after arbitration in favor of two police officers who filed grievances over the failure of the county to provide health coverage (that they had been paying for) to their same-sex spouses.

Baltimore County is not the first locale in Maryland to give at least some faith and credit to the legal same-sex marriages of other states. Employees of the state of Maryland, Baltimore City, Howard County, and Montgomery County already include their same-sex spouses in their health benefits.

The new policy will only acknowledge gay couples with a legal marriage (from another state, of course) and will not extend to those living in domestic partnerships. But it’s an incremental win for gay rights advocates in Maryland and highlights same-sex marriage as a fairly simple civil rights issue. Hopefully, it will soon become clear to those who stumble over the issue on religious grounds that to deny gays the right to marry is simply to deny American citizens equal protection under the law.

Same-Sex Portraiture: Art for Equal Rights

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Katherine Meredith, a professional portrait painter from Baltimore, recently raised over $15,000 on Kickstarter.com in support of her ambitious series entitled Partners, in which she uses classical portraiture technique (think of strikingly realistic family portraits you’ve seen in the fanciest drawing rooms) to depict same-sex couples.

Two years ago, Meredith was horrified when her Catholic high school refused to post in the alumni newsletter a birth announcement from a lesbian alum and her partner–she vowed to find a way to speak out for gay rights, and expressly gay marriage, through her artwork. Thus, Partners was born. (Because the gay and lesbian community has been locked out of portraiture’s rather straight-laced realm almost without exception, the tradition in which Meredith was trained, so refreshing portraiture of same-sex couples seemed the ideal way to send an essential message.)

“My portraits present proud, loving gay couples with no judgment, otherness, or exoticism,” Meredith says, in the short video attached to her Kickstarter campaign homepage. “A portrait is both a private study of intimate life and public statement of who you are; I believe who you love is who you are.”

Meredith worked professionally in New York and Los Angeles for many years–she now lives in Cockeysville with her husband and two young children.

“As a straight woman, I enjoy all the rights and benefits of marriage, and I think gay men and lesbian women should have the same rights that I do,” Meredith explains on film. “I’m hoping this exhibition will increase awareness even more and be another way to help move the needle toward equality.”

Work from the series is currently on display at Galerie die Botschaft at 1628 Bolton Street. Meredith has completed 10 portraits and plans to do about 10 more in the coming year; from there, she aims to take Partners, and its compassionate message, around the country. Visit Kickstarter to donate and learn more.

Same-sex couples interested in having a portrait painted by Meredith, as part of the series, may contact her at [email protected]

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