Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

October 30, 2012

Question 6 is a separation of church and state

I am neither a proponent nor an opponent of same-sex marriage. I am, however, strongly committed to the principle of separation of church and state. Therefore, I will vote yes on Question 6.

The Maryland legislative body passed and the governor signed a bill that would allow same sex-couples a civil union. In very clear and strong language this bill allows for the separation of any church or religion from having to preform a marriage or civil union of any nature that it does not approve.

Ultimately, a group of faith based organizations started a petition drive to place the bill on the ballot. They spent $160,000 dollars in this pursuit.

Churches are tax exempt. The monies donated to churches are a tax write off. I question the constitutionality of churches and faith based groups becoming political action committees.

They use the statement “Don’t redefine marriage.” There is nothing about this law that forces them to change any of their practices regarding marriage.

Another slogan, “Save Marriage”: I wonder how the inclusion of others in civil unions is going to destroy marriage.  

All marriages or civil unions are first and foremost a legal contract between two consenting parties that are not otherwise prohibited from entering into such a union.

Not all marriages involve a religious ceremony. The state defines the legal aspects of marriage. Each church or religion is free to establish its guiding principles and requirements for those that choose to marry within the church.

I have read with great interest the letters concerning Question 6.

It is my observation those letters supporting Question 6 have generally been positive, respectful and engaging.

Those opposed, have been negative, judgemental and sadly, in some cases (hateful) disrespectful — to the Christian values that I was brought up to believe.

I suspect their agenda is far greater than their opposition to Question 6. Would they require a litmus test to afford civil rights and liberties and the pursuit of happiness to all citizens?

Because I believe in the separation of church and state, I will vote yes on Question 6. I encourage all who plan to vote on this question to read the bill.

I know this is an emotional issue on both sides. But we must learn to be tolerant and inclusive to all citizens of our state.

Gary Eaton

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