Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, approved by the state legislature and supported by the governor, has been painted as the civil rights issue of a generation. Voters are being asked on ballot Question 6 whether to support or overturn the state’s Civil Marriage Protection Act which allows gay couples to marry but also gives the clergy protection if they refuse to conduct marriage ceremonies for homosexuals.
Few issues have sparked as much emotion and debate. Voters in 32 states have rejected same-sex marriage statutes and the question is on the ballot this fall in four states. After a federal appeals court earlier this month declared as unconstitutional the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union of man and woman, the question will undoubtedly land before the U.S. Supreme Court.
A patchwork of state laws clouds the matter over recognition of civil unions and individual voters deserve the right to decide the question as a matter of conscience and belief, understanding that freedom of religion is guaranteed and discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal. Moral questions are deeply personal and morality shouldn’t be legislated.