In a new editorial column Sunday, The Baltimore Sun takes aim at opponents of Maryland’s marriage equality law, and said they are “resorting to the same playbook of false attacks they have used to great effect in other states.”
Last week, the Maryland State Board of Elections approved the language for the November referendum on the state’s same-sex marriage law, which will allow Marylanders to vote for permitting gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, but does not compel any religious figure to perform or recognize gay marriages or to provide goods or services for a gay wedding.
But it didn’t take long for opponents to drag out the same specious attacks they have used to great effect in other states where gay marriage has been on the ballot. Within hours of the release of the ballot language, Derek McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group that spearheaded the petition drive to put the law on the ballot, had telegraphed the arguments that we are likely to hear much more of in the months ahead.
“Maryland parents who send their children to public schools are immediately asking how does this affect what is taught in schools,” he said in a statement. “Business owners have a right to know if their personal opinions about same-sex marriage will find them in violation of the law.”
Neither question has anything to do with the matter at hand, but since he asked, here are the answers: “Not at all” and “No.”
The law passed by the General Assembly this year says nothing about what should or should not be taught in schools. Contrary to what opponents may try to imply, it includes no mandates about curriculum whatsoever. What is taught in schools is determined not by the legislature but by local superintendents and school boards, and they are focused on making sure students master reading, writing and math. Values are now taught at home, and they will continue to be if this law is affirmed.
The marriage equlaity bill passed in the state legislature earlier this year and signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, but opponents of the measure — the Maryland Marriage Alliance — collected more than 160,000 signatures to put the marriage equality law to a public vote.
The referendum, Question 6, will ask voters to vote for or against the Civil Marriage Protection Act.