All is Fair in Mary's Land

Thursday, April 14, 2005

All is Fair in Mary's Land

The state of Maryland is quickly becoming one of the few states putting out the welcome mat --instead of a "No Queers Welcome Here!" sign-- for same-sex couples.

On Monday the Medical Decision Making Act (MDMA) passed both state houses, a bill that would grant same-sex couples full medical decision making rights over one another. They would accomplish this by creating a state registry, a de facto "domestic partnership" registry. Now it's just waiting for Governor's approval. Of course not everyone likes this idea, but not for the reasons one would usually expect.
An opponent of the [Medical Decision Making Act], House Minority Whip Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert), described to members how he worried about the ramifications if, say, his 18-year-old "baby girl" got swept up in a romance and there was such a registry available to her.

"Under the provisions of this bill, she may decide to designate a partner for life, because kids at that age sometimes think that their friends are going to be their friends forever," O'Donnell said. "And should a tragedy befall my little girl, my baby girl," he continued at nearly a whisper, "her mother and I . . . would no longer have any say, because the life partner would take precedence over us."
Thank you Mr. Congressman for basing your opposition to real couples getting basic family medical rights on a totally hypothetical situation. Why not ban your "baby girl" and every other person in Maryland from getting married without getting parental permission? If your daughter were to marry you'd also lose your rights, the only difference is that the person who would have these legal rights over your daughter has different naughty bits than she does.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that has to be the dumbest argument for opposition to gay couples designating one another as "next of kin" in medical situations I've ever heard. Even religious objections are far more understandable. (Although I don't think the Bible says anything about people of the same sex granting one another the right to make medical decisions for them, do you?) The flipside to this is story is that a state congressman came out in support of the MDMA by "outing" himself as the proud father of a gay daughter, sort of like an antidote to Maryland's own Alan Keyes.

Anways, I don't ever use this forum for this sort of thing, but Governor Ehrlich (R-MD) hasn't decided if he's going to sign or veto this legislation. If you support it and have a few minutes, please send him an e-mail via Equality Maryland. (Actually Maryland has had a very gay-friendly session, this is one of several pieces of legislation passed in Maryland, including the passage of a gay-inclusive Hate Crimes bill and a "gay tax" bill as well as the defeat of a state anti-gay marriage amendment. I think Maryland is approaching "honorary New England state" status.)

Of course even if Ehrlich signs the MDMA it doesn't mean the deal is sealed. Maryland has it's own wingnutty faction, led by Del. Donald Dwyer who is known for regularly saying enlightened things like "the vile and militaristic agenda of the homosexual activist...their intent [is] to sodomize our children." Dwyer, who is as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside, says he's going to petition to get the MDMA repealed via state referendum next year. To that effort, sir, I hope you fail miserably.

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