Main | Friday, January 18, 2008

On "De Facto" Gay Marriage

From an op-ed piece in the Annapolis Capital:
Here's how inevitable gay marriage is in Maryland, in one form or another. There was a debate on the issue last week in Annapolis, and the supporters didn't even bother speaking.

True, it wasn't actually a debate over a marriage or civil union bill; it was a General Assembly committee hearing about insurance regulations, not ordinarily one of the more scintillating shows in town.

But make no mistake, this was about gay marriage. By a 12-4 vote, a joint Senate-House committee approved inserting a definition of "domestic partner" into state insurance rules.

And give them credit: The self-appointed defenders of "family values" can see the writing on the wall. Heck, Del. Don Dwyer, R-Glen Burnie, showed up to complain, and he's not even on the committee.

Is this, as the moralists fear, an end-run around the legislature and the courts, which so far have declined to bring civil unions or gay marriage to Maryland? Are administrative rules like this a way to do piecemeal what lawmakers won't do in one fell swoop?

Absolutely, and it's going to work.


Once there is de facto gay marriage, changing the law to reflect that reality (whether we call it marriage or temporarily use a euphemism like "civil union" to appease the religious right) won't seem like such a huge step.
We're already seeing this happen in New Jersey.

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