Race, Religion or Bigotry to Decide Maryland Same Sex Law
Could it be true that a chance seating arrangement in the Maryland House of Delegates changed the opinion of a congressman who originally opposed same sex marriage?
Republican Wade Kach is known to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Last week when the same sex marriage bill was brought to the Maryland House floor, Delegate Kach wound up sitting last minute near several of the bill’s supporters. Something changed for him during this meeting. He said, “When this hearing was over, I was a changed person in regard to this issue. I felt that I understood what same sex couples were looking for.”
The support of Kach and one other Republican helped to pass this bill. It “squeaked through the 141-member chamber on a 72–67 vote. The bill’s passage through the Senate also was close – it passed 25-22 Thursday – and Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat and a strong supporter of the law, is expected to sign it soon,” according to the LA Times.
According to the Washington Post’s most recent polls, 50% of Maryland residents support a gay marriage law and 44% are opposed to it. Whether the bill is finally approved, however, some say rests in the hands of the state’s African American population, who make up 30% of the population.
Their opposition, some believed, could thwart passage of this bill in November when it is placed on the ballot. So between now and June 30, the opposition will need 55,736 signatures to put a referendum on the ballot.
The reason why some think that African Americans will not support this law in a popular vote is because of their Protestant background. It would seem, however, that a Protestant background and a conservative interpretation of the Bible, no matter the ethnicity, would most likely deliver the same results.
Of course, there is also the possibility that since a group has been discriminated against, there is a greater proclivity to support another that has endured the same thing.
If opposition to same sex marriage is at the top of the list of African American concerns or even a significant concern, why isn’t the face of this opposition African American rather than conservative right? And if Republican Kach can change his beliefs simply from interaction, why won’t others?
No, human nature is not simple. But it is also not that complicated. Let’s call this what it really is: bigotry. Rodney King was really that deep when he asked, “Can’t we all just get along.”
Photo credit: asterix611 via flickr