Democratic State Sen. Jim Mathias hit the nail on the head this week when he said same sex marriage is “a very generational issue”. The gay marriage bill was just last week signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley and is indeed a polarizing matter for a number of reasons.
On the surface, this bill appears to be a party line matter. Generally, Democrats are the more liberal among us and subsequently support gay marriage. It’s a litmus test issue on many fronts, similar to abortion and gun control. Along those lines, most Republicans hold conservative and traditional values and are against extending marriage rights to homosexuals.
With the gay marriage bill, Mathias said his experiences have proven it’s not necessarily a party line issue and has more to do with age. As an example, he cited a “scathing email” from a Democratic constituent who blasted him for betraying his party with his vote. He heard similar criticism at a recent Show Hill Chamber of Commerce gathering where several local gay businessmen, presumably Democrats, expressed their disappointment. However, he reiterated his belief this is not a party issue, rather a personal, and sometimes religious, choice.
“I recently met with five young Republican leaders from five colleges in Maryland on another matter and they wanted to talk about same sex marriage. All five supported it and were advocating for it,” he said. “This is a very generational issue. It’s a very controversial issue as well.”
Since I was donning my reporter cap, I never came out and told him that I support the right of two homosexuals to marry and be granted the same rights of a man and woman. My opinion appears to confirm Mathias’ assertion.
“I voted no last year, I voted no this year. Primarily, my basis for voting no is my desire with my term in public service to preserve as much of a traditional society as I can. Marriage between a man and a woman is a traditional society,” Mathias said. “This is a very conservative district and my district is overwhelmingly opposed to it.”
Although he does not sign petitions, Mathias expects the online petition effort to be successful in securing the required number of signatures in order for the registered voters in Maryland to decide the matter in a November referendum.
“I would encourage Marylanders to participate and sign this petition,” Mathias said.
If the gay marriage petition is successful as expected, it will have company on the statewide ballot as a referendum matter. Already on the ballot is the question of whether voters want in-state tuition discounts to be given to some illegal immigrants in Maryland’s colleges and universities. To be eligible, students would have to attend three years of high school in Maryland and show their parents filed tax returns in the state. The bill is suspended currently awaiting the referendum outcome.
Ocean City’s history has always fascinated me. Therefore, Wednesday night’s dinner to recall the great storm of 1962 was something I would have attended even if my boss didn’t make it a requirement.
What made the dinner event was the excellent video created by Stephen Decatur High School’s Terry Sterner and the nearly two dozen storm “survivors” who gave personal accounts of the freak storm that took the entire region by surprise and lasted through five high tides. Hearing them tell their stories and articulating personal reflections on the storm was the highlight of the evening.
In addition, what made the video unique to me was the fact the storm had to be documented through still photos. Today, any sort of storm recount, such as Katrina, for instance, would include video footage. In 1962, that was not possible so black-and-white photos had to tell the story. For someone who has newspaper ink in his blood, that was particularly special to see.
Kudos goes to the entire Ocean City Museum Society and the committee who organized the dinner party. All involved deserve a tip of the cap.