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Same-sex Marriage

20 February 2011 By Jordan Russell, News Editor and Dominique Tecson, Staff Writer 11 Comments
Maryland looks to vote in favor of legislation
Same-Sex Marriage - Casey Prather/ The Towerlight

Same-Sex Marriage - Casey Prather/ The Towerlight

Sophomore dance performance major Lance Hayes has been dating sophomore elementary education major Ryan Greene on and off for the past year and a half.  Hayes said they have a close relationship because they are more than amorous partners.

“We met through a friend that used to go to Towson and we started dating. As our relationship formed we became best friends. We can basically talk to each other about anything,” Hayes said. “We can step outside the boyfriend zone and see each other as friends.”

Like many Towson University students, Hayes has an idea of his future after college. He said he and Greene have talked about future desires: They want to adopt a foreign child, own a Corgi, and achieve their occupational goals.  There’s also one more thing Hayes is hoping for.

“I plan on getting married with [someone of] the same sex after I graduate, and this would be a great step for raising my own family in the future,” he said.

The state of Maryland may soon be a location for him to do so. Within 10 days, the Senate may vote on legislation that would allow marriage to not just be between a man and a woman.

Sen. James C. Rosapepe announced his support for gay marriage legislation on Thursday, according to The Baltimore Sun, signifying the final vote needed to move the bill to the House of Delegates, where many believe it would pass. Out of the state’s 47 senators, 24 votes are needed for the approval of the bill, which the state has met.

In addition to Rosapepe’s announcement, Sen. James Brochin of Baltimore County has given signs that he will support the bill, after hearing seven hours of testimony at a Senate committee’s public hearing. Brochin has traditionally opposed the idea of same-sex marriages.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who does not support gay marriage, predicted the debate will be fierce, but the bill will ultimately pass in the House, according to the Sun article.

Emmanuel Welsh, the Student Government Association director of legislative affairs, said the bill is one of the most controversial that the Senate and House of Delegates has ever considered. Should this bill pass, Maryland will be the sixth state in the U.S. that recognizes same-sex marriages.

Hayes, who supports the bill, predicted a domino effect.

“I believe that society is changing, and if Maryland passes the law, then it will eventually lead to the whole United States to support [it] as well,” he said.

Joshua Nolet, president of the Towson College Republicans and Towerlight contributor, said people shouldn’t try and push their viewpoints on others who think differently.

“My or others’ religious beliefs shouldn’t dictate someone else’s life. Heterosexual and homosexual love is no different,” Nolet said. “Religions should not be forced to recognize or perform same-sex marriage because it is a state issue. Same-sex marriage is not an assault on the family, but rather the creation of new ones that can adopt children, buy homes and provide stability.”

The bill does not include provisions that would force churches, synagogues or mosques to perform or celebrate gay marriages, according to the Sun article.

Amy Becker, an assistant professor in the department of mass communication and communication studies, wrote an article that analyzes how people decide whether they are pro-gay marriage or not.  According to her article, age is a large factor in how people feel about the topic.

“The article suggests that for younger people, the thing that influences their attitudes most is having members of their social network like friends and family members who are gay and lesbian. And that personal contact influences their levels of acceptance of homosexuality and engagement with the same-sex marriage issue,” Becker said. “For older people, we’re talking about people over 25, over 35, it’s more about their religion and ideological values that drive their opinions.”

For Maren Greathouse, director of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender development, the topic is more personal. She said people often don’t understand the importance of having marriage rights.

“The right to be recognized as a married couple [like] a heterosexual couple is important, but the bigger issues that resonate with same sex-couples is that they don’t have health care benefits,” Greathouse said. “They can’t share a retirement plan and they don’t have property rights.”

Greathouse said she added her partner on her health insurance earlier this year, which increases her taxes, as the state subsidizes same-sex couples. She was getting charged for her medical insurance and an additional $300 dollars were being subtracted from her paycheck due to an imputed benefit.

“Imagine if I had children that I wanted to have on that plan that were my partner’s legal children and I wasn’t their legal parent. That’s an enormous amount of money,” she said.

Greathouse said one thing could solve these issues.

“By having marriage rights alone, it’s going to eliminate that financial barrier. That alone is an amazing opportunity and reason why we should be talking to our senators and delegates saying we need to support this,” she said. “It gives [homosexual couples] the financial protection that heterosexual couples are [given] already. It’s more than about same-sex couples [being treated] the same as heterosexual couples. It’s about so many things people don’t think about.”

Gail Price, a benefits specialist in Towson University’s department of human resources, said benefits at the University don’t depend on what sex your spouse is.

“Because there were [same-sex] marriages going on, people wanted their same-sex partner on their form as a spouse as opposed to another dependant. So the state accommodated that, but it really doesn’t matter to us if they’re married or not,” Price said. “If [an employee and his or her partner are] domestic partners and there’s certain criteria they have to fulfill, [once fulfilled] they can be on their benefits. We have allowed that under state regulations and are going into our third year in offering that.”

If same-sex marriages are enacted in the state, opponents of the bill intend on creating a petition to move the issue to a ballot vote, according to a Washington Post article. Those in opposition are able to do this through a provision in Maryland law that allows citizens to petition approved legislation.

Same-Sex Marriage - Casey Prather/ The Towerlight

Same-Sex Marriage - Casey Prather/ The Towerlight

Regardless if the bill passes or not, Hayes said he plans on starting a family with Greene. He also said others in same-sex relationships should take things in stride.

“I would say trust your instinct and play it as it goes. Play it by ear. Never assume anything. If you think you guys could be together for a while, just go with the flow and don’t care what other people think about you because in the end it’s going to be you and your partner,” Hayes said. “If you guys can see yourselves together, then it doesn’t matter what other people think.”


11 Comments »

  • Jos. A. Mustich said:

    Cool. Onward to full marriage equality rights now.
    Cheers, Joe Mustich, CT Justice of the Peace,
    Washington Green, CT USA

    Congrats guys!!

    And congrats to CT for supporting SSM since 2008!

  • Oliva said:

    One of the main points from the article is how much age affects approval of SSM. It seems also money and insurance are great concerns for this type of couples, as if money is the final line to make a decision, especially to senators. The article shows how polititians decide based on money, and not on the common good. The young couple, on the other hand, expresses no word about love for each other, but they refer to themselves in friendship. Through their testimony, they demonstrate a deep desire to form a family, which for some reason, it got distorted to be with a partner of a same sex gender. That reason seems to come from the distortion brought by people interested for people of the same sex. Throughout the whole article I found no words of real truth on the consequences or causes of these SSM.
    The acceptance of the reality of people, usually young, interested in the same sex gender, comes from a poor concience. They need a formation with values. How is same sex marriage, for example, defending the right to life, when they are already being contraceptive by their actual union? Adoption appears as an escape to the truth of their imposibility to procreate. In the case of adoption, it is important to acknowledge the situation the baby would be immersed. The poor little girl or boy with parents of the same sex is going to suffer the most, when trying to define their masculine and feminine identity. This will be an impossible task, because he/she would have parents, who cannot reflect the same sex as he/she has.
    Let’s pray for this veil of darkness in the conciousness of many to be uncovered so the real truth of our human beings come to life. We were created out of love. God created us. This love comes from the communion of persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He created us male and female, and we need to look in front of a mirror to see that we are created for someone of the opposite sex.
    Everything God created is good, and with regards to human beings, is very good. We were created in His image and likeness with a rational soul in a body that will not last forever, but our souls will live for all eternity. What are we doing to be holy and be able to be in heaven enjoying the beatific vision? What are we doing with our bodies, temples of the Holy Spirit?

  • J. said:

    Let’s lift the “veil of darkness” and reveal some solid facts rather than spouting off nonsense about how every gay man and woman is damned for simply loving who they want to love.

    Legalizing gay marriage would put one BILLION dollars into the federal government’s pocket.
    Why? Because of the nearly 600,000 same-sex partners that would get married if they had the opportunity and those 600,000 would all pay TAXES. Estate taxes, income taxes, all not entitled to them unless they’re legally shown as being married.

    When California legalized same-sex marriage in 2008, they estimated $64 million in additional tax revenue from the state and $9 million in marriage license ALONE.

    The fact that same-sex couples are adopting babies that might otherwise be thrown into a foster system, or worse in some countries, put to death, brings joy into everyone’s lives and helps limit the world’s population, which, contrary to Olivia’s belief, does not need help expanding.

    But because it’s “immoral” obviously all those benefits are outweighed because it’s Satan cash.

    Besides the fact that these two are unbelievably brave to display their love and risk that dolts like the two who posted before me would attack them on no grounds other than being “immoral.”
    We love who we love and there should be absolutely no boundaries to that love. It’s idiotic that one tiny Bible verse should be the support for an entire argument. No one should play the role of psychologist or judge unless they’re qualified, and absolutely no one should banter around that disgusting, offensive language.

  • Camille Goleb said:

    Two things scare me here:

    1. How even people I assume to be of my generation are so ready to completely overlook separation of church and state. Keep in mind what’s written in the constitution, and that the US was not founded on religion.

    2. I’m the only one besides Mr. Mustich that has dared to put a real name on here. Anonymity is a convenient thing to hide behind, but I believe that if you really believe what you say you believe, you should be able to either put your name behind it or just not say anythign offensive at all.

  • Average Student said:

    I like the part where the individuals against same-sex marriage could not form a complete and comprehensive sentence.

  • Brooklin said:

    Well gay relationships and couples thats not what is really the big deal is it? Every 3 out of five kids are gay today or have kissed there same sex friend or partner. Gayness isnt something that people should be afarid of and the gay individuials reading this regular people arnt really as regualar as they are thought to be. Im a senior in High School and where i am from gay pride was born here. I believe its kinda a trend thing for the girls here today. they love to date boys but when boys arnt giving enough attention they go to girls, just for a little while but still. The point is that almost ever person has kissed there same sex while at a party, movie or even a dare. The point is not to judge someone for what there sexuality is but to look at them as another male/female.

  • TU Student said:

    I found the cover of Monday’s paper totally offensive and disrespectful.

    Yes, people should have freedom of choice, but this kind of stuff is not something which should be flaunted (especially on the front page of the school paper of all places).

    If the university condones this sort of behavior, then I’m ashamed to say I’m a member of the student body.

  • ToTheGuyAboveMe said:

    Wow you’re dumb.

  • Eyes Wide Open said:

    TU Student,

    Open your eyes kid. The school has a Queer Student Union. Students across campus are regularly seen wearing shirts that say “Gay? Fine By Me.” There is a flavored condom tasting event every year, and two Drag Shows that are standing room only every semester.

    If you are legitimately offended by this, I’m ashamed that you are a member of the student body, too.

  • Pat Robertson said:

    No gay marriage! If gays get married, what the hell am I going to talk about all damn day?

    No, seriously, we can’t allow the gays to get married, because they are staining the Fabric of America, destroying the American family, stealing the innocence of the American Child, pissing in the morning coffee of the American father, exposing themselves to the American grandmother! They must be stopped! It’s not enough to go on with our lives and not worry about who other people are banging! We have to stop them, because before there were gays, there wasn’t so much gay stuff in the media!

  • ToAllTheHomophobes said:

    I think if you’re comfortable with your own hetersexuality, then you shouldn’t be threatened by gay people. Why should you care who other people date or marry? If you think people are going to hell if they are gay, then good for you. But, other people don’t necessarily believe that. Why should you limit the rights of others simply based on your own faith?

    Also, if you think being gay is a sin because its in the Bible, then you must also think that playing football is a sin, getting a tattoo is a sin, getting a divorce is a sin, wearing gold is a sin, eating shellfish is a sin, wearing clothes made from a polyester blend is a sin, and defending yourself against an attacker by grabbing his testicles is a sin. I didn’t make those up. All of them can be found in Leviticus. So, why are you focusing on not allowing gays to get marriage when you could be fighting the sin factory that is Red Lobster?

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