This morning, I got email from Robert Broadus at Protect Marriage Maryland, an organization formed to oppose gay marriage in Maryland (and also the repeal of DADT, DOMA, and generally stand in the way of social progress), about the Maryland bill to legalize gay marriage (which recently passed both houses, but hasn’t been signed by the governor yet):

It is important to understand that re-defining marriage is not about “equality,” “civil rights,” or even the word, “marriage,” as homosexuals in Maryland already have domestic partnership benefits, and have intentionally rejected civil unions at every opportunity.  Instead, re-defining marriage represents the hope of “acceptance” for their godless lifestyles, imposed on the rest of society via the government and the force of law.

(emphasis added)

Could Broadus make it any more plain that he’s a bigot, and that that’s his main reason for opposing marriage rights for gays? (And, not incidentally, that he thinks this approach is a good way to raise money for his cause.)

One reason why this matters is that animus played an important part in the Proposition 8 trial: basically, the Supreme Court decided that you can’t just pass laws against people because you don’t like them; that legislation has to provide an actual benefit or solve a real problem.

Indeed, in the Prop 8 ruling, judge Walker wrote:

In the absence of a rational basis, what remains of proponents’ case is an inference, amply supported by evidence in the record, that Proposition 8 was premised on the belief that same-sex couples simply are not as good as opposite-sex couples.FF 78-80. Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women, this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate.

Proponents’ purported rationales are nothing more than post-hoc justifications. […] What is left is evidence that Proposition 8 enacts a moral view that there is something “wrong” with same-sex couples.

Yes, I realize that Maryland is not California. But to the extent that they’re similar, if there’s an anti-gay-marriage referendum in Maryland, and it passes, and it gets challenged in court, then Broadus is laying the foundation for an animus charge.

I would have thought he’d be more subtle about it, though.

Here Come the Religious Bigots

I mentioned earlier that there’s a bill in the Maryland legislature to allow gay marriage. So wouldn’t you know it, that’s bringing out the religious anti-equality brigade.

Via FSTDT, I learn about Protect Marriage Maryland, a group affiliated with NOM (at least, according to Yahoo! News; this fact appears neither on NOM’s nor PMM’s site, as far as I can tell. It’s almost as if they’re embarrassed to be associated with each other).

It’s just a holding page for now, but it says:

Protect Maryland Marriage is a Political Action Committee (PAC) formed to preserve the current Maryland Family Law §2-201 which states that “Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State.” The following sections go on to state that “A man may not marry his: grandmother; mother; daughter; sister; or granddaughter,” and that “A woman may not marry her: grandfather; father; son; brother; or grandson,” nor may they marry their in-laws, nieces, nephews, or similar family relations by marriage. All of this will be threatened if the marriage law is changed to benefit one small but vocal and well-funded sexual minority.

Oh, goody. A slippery-slope argument. We haven’t had one of those in, oh, fifteen minutes. If Adam and Steve are given the same legal rights as Joe and Mary, then it’s only a matter of time before daughters are having sex with their father, eating bacon is sanctioned by the state, and men are allowed to trim their beards! Who will save us from such defiance of God’s law?

We believe there is value in preserving the traditional definition of marriage, and that efforts to change this definition do violence to the family structure

Pray explain to me how allowing two men or two women to marry would affect existing marriages, or prevent me from marrying a woman?

and the reality that children do best when raised in a stable family with the love, attention, and physical presence of their biological mother and father.

I hear this argument a lot, and it basically comes down to stereotyping.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the premise is true; that the optimal environment for children is for them to be raised by their loving and attentive biological parents. Let’s say that children raised this way have a 95% chance of completing college, of holding down a steady job, of not having any serious mental problems, of staying out of prison, of not becoming addicted to any drugs, and of maintaining a healthy body weight. All of that.

Let’s say that children of gay parents, children of divorced parents, children of gay parents, children of adoptive parents, children of parents who live together but aren’t married, all do worse than the optimum.

Let’s grant all that, for the sake of argument.

So what?

Should we tell unmarried couples that, because the odds are against them, they shouldn’t even have a shot at trying to raise normal, well-adjusted kids? Is that really the argument? “You probably won’t get an A+, so you shouldn’t be allowed to try”?

Because if that’s the argument, shouldn’t we forbid interracial marriages again, if those don’t last as long as intraracial marriages? Should we forbid marriages between members of different religions, for the same reason? Should divorce be forbidden once a couple has children? Should straight married couples be forbidden from adopting children?

Should we note that most world-class mathematicians are men, and forbid universities from admitting women into their math programs?

We believe that the current marriage law enshrines this reality. While some families may not always be able to provide such opportunities to every child, keeping the current law is the best way to respect the natural family, the rights of a biological mother and father to be able to raise their own children, to educate their children and teach them their own religious values–not the religious values of the state

The state doesn’t — or at least shouldn’t — have religious values. It should be neutral. That’s what the first amendment is all about, remember? Freedom of religion and freedom from religion?

Or is “teach […] the religious value of the state” code for “acknowledging that there are people of other religions, or none, and they have the same rights as we do”? If so, first amendment again.

–and to provide the model for an ideal family for children to be raised in.

For this argument to carry any weight, everyone who is currently allowed to get a marriage certificate in Maryland has to be put in the “ideal family” category. This includes serial divorcés, people who don’t like or want children, and so on, and so forth.

We are a non-partisan group composed of many faiths, different races, and all types of citizens who are concerned for the future of our state, our country, and our world being threatened

Our world is being threatened by gay marriage? Oh, puh-leeze. Quit whining and stop exaggerating. Don’t you know that hyperbole will melt the earth’s crust and unleash flocks of flying demon-hippos to piss on the heads of the godly?

by those who seek to force moral, law-abiding citizens to embrace or accept behavior that most of us find contrary to the tenets of our deepest religious & philosophical beliefs. The first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that Congress will not violate our FREEDOM OF RELIGION. We firmly believe that as citizens of Maryland, our state legislature should do the same.

And you know what? Having the state grant marriage certificates will do nothing to stop churches from marrying whomever they like, or refusing to marry whomever they like. If you want to marry a man’s dog to his garden rake, go ahead (just don’t expect them to get a marriage certificate). And likewise, you can continue to be as bigoted as you like. Just don’t expect the state to impose your religious views on others.

The first amendment gives you the right to practice your religion. It does not give you the right to inflict it on others. You do not have the right not to be offended.

Here’s a video from ProtectMarriageMD’s YouTube channel:

Note how they’re not even pretending that this isn’t motivated by religion.