I’m a 35 year old lesbian, happily partnered living in a DC suburb in Maryland. I just heard about the recent court ruling in Maryland. My partner and I have been thinking about having children, and with this new court ruling… I’ve begun to think that moving to a more LGBT-friendly state may be worthwhile. I’m just not sure that I can live in a homophobic state that doesn’t believe that I’m a human being.
--Mulling over Moving in Maryland
Maryland Marriage and its Discontents
I had been closely following the Maryland same-sex marriage case as it traveled up the Maryland State Court System. There was a lot of excitement and reason to hope when the lower court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, and I understand your feelings of loss, disenfranchisement and betrayal.
While you and your partner have to make your own decision on what is best for your future plans as a couple and as parents, with regards to your choice of geographical locale, I would ask you to reconsider your judgment of Maryland as homophobic.
Let me put a few things into perspective: I currently reside in Virginia, Maryland’s not-so-friendly neighbor to the south. In Virginia, with the recent passing of the Virginia Marriage Amendment (which was so over-the-top that Texans thought they had gone too far) same-sex couples are not legally permitted to own property together, leave each other in their wills, adopt children together, share a joint-bank account, and even rent movies on their partner’s account. I’m not joking, some jackass in rural Virginia thought that lesbians renting movies together threatened the stability of heterosexual couples everywhere. Oh, and Virginia still insists on enforcing their anti-sodomy laws. That’s right, Virginia’s Attorney-General is defying the Supreme Court, just to spite the gays. It’s pretty clear: Virginia is NOT for all Lovers, just the monogamous heterosexual married lovers. And we all know how many of those there are now; Hey Larry Craig!
So, MMM, living in a state that allows joint-parent adoption, recognizes partners in wills, has a majority of jurisdictions that provide domestic partner benefits, and has a very powerful and effective gay and lesbian caucus in both state legislative bodies isn’t so bad. I’m not suggesting that queers need to settle for what measly rights we have been given, I just think that those of us who are fortunate enough not to live in a REAL homophobic state shouldn’t take lightly the rights and freedoms that their fellow queers living just over the Potomac River don’t enjoy.
It should also be noted that the judge who ruled against equal marriage rights wasn’t a complete dick-head. He thought that it was the Court’s place to interpret existing law, and included in his ruling that he in no way condemns or attempts to inhibit the legislature’s ability to change those laws regarding marriage. I think that’s fair, and frankly, I believe it’s through the legislature that those changes should be made. Right, Arnold?
When you have a state like Virginia where you have men and women in the legislature who honestly hate gay people and purposefully act to disenfranchise and oppress their queer constituency, the goal is to push queer Virginians out. By making the state so unlivable, they strive to give us no other option than to flee to friendlier waters, thereby further reducing queer political power in the state.
Obviously, I’m not suggesting that you and your partners should be martyrs for the cause. But if your attachments to your community and all of your Marylander friends are outweighed by a profound need to join the coercive cult of the marriage institution, then sure, move away to a gay paradise somewhere. But, also realize that there are plenty of people who are fleeing for the same reasons to places like Maryland. Maybe the Old Line State isn’t so bad after all.
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