Thursday, February 17, 2011

Maryland on the brink of legalizing same-sex marriage?

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Same-sex marriage

The feisty little Old Line State may be about to become the sixth to grant LGBT folks the right to marry the ones they love over whomever others think they should be coupled with. And unsurprisingly (albeit pleasingly), The Washington Post has come out in favor of marriage equality:

We won't know with certainty for a few days whether Maryland will enact the legislation this year. One key senator with a swing vote - Democrat Joan Carter Conway of Baltimore - says she is praying "real hard" to determine how to vote. But here's something we'd bet on: If state lawmakers don't authorize same-sex marriage this year, they will next year, or the year after that.

Americans, who just 15 years ago opposed same-sex marriage by a margin of about 2.5 to 1, have changed their views with stunning speed. Although a bare plurality continues to express opposition, the opponents skew heavily elderly and less educated, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who favor allowing gays and lesbians to wed has increased sharply. Political independents, who just two years ago were opposed by a considerable margin, are now almost evenly divided. Younger Americans tend to support same-sex marriage, and those under the age of 30 favor it by a large majority.

In Maryland, several formerly undecided lawmakers have listened to the arguments of opponents - and recoiled at the vitriol they heard. State Sen. James Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat who previously backed same-sex civil unions but not marriage, changed his mind after taking in what he called the "appalling" views of opponents at a Senate hearing. "Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles," he said in a statement, adding: "For me, the transition to supporting marriage has not been an easy one. But the uncertainty, fear, and second-class status that gays and lesbians have to put up with is far worse and clearly must come to an end."

Which is yet more evidence that compassion happens to people. Hence why most folks who endure injustices, oppression and various other hardships have a knack of turning into liberals.

Anyway, here’s one foreigner with his fingers crossed. Gov. Martin O’Malley has already confirmed that he would enact such legislation if it reached his desk. Go on, Old Liners, make me proud.