On Tuesday, Marylanders have an opportunity to make history by voting for Question 6 and passing marriage equality by popular vote for the first time in our nation’s history. Supporters of marriage equality have lost 32 ballot initiatives in a row, but 2012 is the year we capture the momentum and win victories in four states — Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
We’ve seen millions of dollars spent in sleazy, misleading ads by anti-equality groups looking to scare Marylanders about what marriage equality is and what Question 6 means. Don’t believe them, because it’s really as simple as equality, fairness and justice for all families.
Marriage equality shouldn’t be a political issue. If President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney both support a cause, you know it defies conventional politics. You can vote for Question 6 whether you consider yourself a progressive or a tea partier — or if you’re entirely apolitical.
Marriage equality is not a religious issue. Nobody will ever tell your pastor whom he or she has to marry. As many as noted, this is about rights, not rites; things that happen in a courthouse, not a church. You can vote for marriage equality without fear of any changes to your place of worship.
When I came out of the closet in 10th grade at James M. Bennett High School, I was the only openly gay student in the school.
I know my 15-year-old self would be astonished at the progress made in the last decade, but we’re not there yet. There are more than a thousand legal protections that straight married couples have but gay committed couples do not have access to; that’s not fair. I know the Eastern Shore and its residents believe in fairness.
Gay people are your neighbors, your friends, your family and your colleagues. They deserve access to the same rights for their families as you have for yours.
Polls overwhelmingly show that young people support marriage equality — by huge margins. Maryland has an opportunity to stand on the right side of history.
I, for one, hope it does.
Ryan Davis was born and raised in Salisbury. He is a cofounder of TheFour.com and a contributor to Marylanders For Marriage Equality. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.