I sent the following letter to my State Senator, Ed Reilly, earlier today
9 February 2012
Sean E Asbury
XXX Truro Lane
Crofton, MD 21114
Senator Edward R. Reilly
Republican, District 33
James Senate Office Building, Room 321
11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Senator Reilly,
Last year at this time I had the honor of speaking with you on behalf of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. Unfortunately, those of us in your office last year were unable to provide you enough reasons to convince you to support marriage equality on behalf of all Marylanders.
The landscape on this issue continues to shift in the direction of equal rights for all Americans. The State of Washington will soon join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York, and the District of Columbia in allowing all people the right of marriage.
Judge Stephen Roy Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week wrote in the court’s decision overturning California’s Proposition 8:
“All that Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same-sex couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation of ‘marriage,’ which symbolizes state legitimization and societal recognition of their committed relationships. Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for “laws of this sort.” Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620, 633 (1996).”
My interest in this matter is purely based on the constitutionality of the issue ensuring equality of rights to all our people. The law protecting citizens from discrimination is based on the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, bolstered by additional laws (e.g. Civil Rights Act of 1964) and Executive Orders.
Last year, you stated that your religious background and beliefs did not allow you to support marriage equality for Marylanders. It is my hope, one year later, that you can take a moment to reflect upon what has changed.
- The state of Washington has determined marriage equality is an inherent right for its’ citizens. Washington’s governor is expected to sign the legislation into law within days.
- The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that a law designed specifically to deny equal rights to all Californians is unconstitutional.
- A recent Washington Post poll indicates the majority of Marylanders favor marriage equality –roughly the same numbers as the rest of the nation.
I urge you to reconsider your previous position on this matter and vote in favor of marriage equality for our state. Your support allows Maryland to be in the forefront and on the right side of this issue. Additionally, and most importantly, your support will be reflective of the will of the people of our state that not only support but desire equal rights for all our citizens, despite your personal views.
As a historian, it is worth pointing out that the two presidents that did the most for civil rights in this country – Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson – did not personally believe in the equality of the races in America. They put aside their personal prejudices and did the right thing extending rights for all Americans as the representative of all Americans, regardless of skin color. I beg you to do the same on this important issue – to hold in abeyance your personal views on this matter and support marriage equality in your capacity as my representative in our state legislature.
Sean E. Asbury
For people reading this blog, I urge you too to contact your representatives and let them know as soon as possible that you too support equality for all our citizens. If your religious views leave you troubled, please note that the legislation in no way, shape, or form requires religious institutions to perform marriage ceremonies – from a religious stand-point, it is entirely up to the religious denomination to determine if they wish to engage in supporting marriage equality.
Please click on this link to e-mail your Maryland representative and let them know that you support Life, Liberty, and Justice for All.