Category Maryland politics

Church Graffiti: “Trump Nation, Whites Only”

(Update: WTOP and the Silver Spring Patch have the story.)

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington tells us that a banner at their church in Hillandale, MD was defaced last night:

Racist graffiti at the Episcopal church in Hillandale, MD, Nov. 12, 2016.

On the back of a banner advertising mass in Spanish, someone wrote “Trump Nation” and “whites only”.
Does it really need to be said that this kind of racism1 is unacceptable, especially in the 21st century2? Apparently it is. Apparently this crap isn’t confined to places like Alabama, or even rural America: the church in question is just a few hundred yards from the Beltway, right in my area.
I don’t know whether this is something new, or something hidden that the rise of Trump dredged up to the surface, but either way, I have to at least stand up and say that this is unambiguously wrong. That if you think this is an acceptable way to bring about change, then you can fuck off into a basement somewhere, and know that you’re just a step above literal neo-nazis (assuming you’re not already one of them).

1. Someone is bound to say that “Spanish” isn’t a race, so this isn’t racism. Those people can fuck off, and take the “false flag” crowd with them.
2. And someone else is bound to ask why what’s moral and immoral depends on what year it is. These people should also fuck off and ponder which years have the most hindsight to learn from.
Good On Ya for Standing Up for Your Principles. Now Go Away.

A business owner in Annapolis has found that his deeply-held convictions are about to come into conflict with the law, and rather than give up his principles, he’s going to, if not close up shop, then at least scale back shop:

An Annapolis company whose old-fashioned trolleys are iconic in the city’s wedding scene has abandoned the nuptial industry rather than serve same-sex couples.

The owner of Discover Annapolis Tours said he decided to walk away from $50,000 in annual revenue instead of compromising his Christian convictions when same-sex marriages become legal in Maryland in less than a week. And he has urged prospective clients to lobby state lawmakers for a religious exemption for wedding vendors.

(Source: Washington Post.)

This seems as clear a case I can imagine of a business owner having to choose between money and bigotry. He chose bigotry. I wish him the best of luck in not getting hit in the ass by the door on the way out.

As far as can make out, he’s not actually shutting down his business. He’s just pulling his business out (heh-heh) of the wedding business.

In case anyone’s wondering why he can’t just pick and choose his customers:

“If they’re providing services to the public, they can’t discriminate who they provide their services to,” said Glendora Hughes, general counsel for the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. The commission enforces public accommodation laws that prohibit businesses from discriminating on the basis of race, sexual orientation and other characteristics.

If your business is open to the public, it’s open to the public, not just to those parts of the public that you approve of. If a state passes a law saying “Jews and black people can shop anywhere that gentiles and white people can”, that’s great, but if you then add “unless the shop owner doesn’t feel like it”, that makes the law meaningless.

Predictably, the owner of Discover Annapolis Tours, Matt Grubbs, has his defenders:

Frank Schubert, the political strategist who ran campaigns against same-sex marriage in Maryland and three other states this year, said opponents predicted collateral damage from legalizing same-sex unions.

“This is exactly what happens,” Schubert said, adding that religious liberty is “right in the crosshairs of this debate. . . . The law doesn’t protect people of faith. It simply doesn’t.”

The first thing I note is that “religious liberty” here is used the same way as “states’ rights” in discussing the US Civil War: then, the states’ right in question was the right to own slaves. Here, the religious liberty at issue is the right to discriminate against gay people.

The second thing I note is the phrase “people of faith”. There’s just so much unthinking privilege packed into those three words. There’s the assumption that faith is a Good Thing; that believing things just ‘cos is something worth defending. And then there’s the assumption that all “people of faith” must agree with his views. I can name any number of self-professed “people of faith” who’d disagree with him.

Still, I suppose it could’ve been worse. At least Grubbs is complying with the law, rather than, say, suing for the right to discriminate. All the same: buh-bye.

Election Night Woot!

As I write this — and maybe I shouldn’t be writing this while I’m in no state to operate Internet machinery — a number of things have happened in the 2012 US election.

Obama has won reelection. Mittens is about to concede. Looks like Obama has won not only the Electoral Vote, but also the popular vote. So I guess the moral of the story is that you can’t buy an election without showing your tax returns or adopting a consistent policy on something.

Elizabeth Warren has won. Richard Mourdock has lost. Todd Akin has lost. According to various sources, Democrats have picked up a Senate seat or two.

Recreational marijuana will now be legal in Washington state.

Oh, and gay marriage will be legal in Maryland, Washington, and Maine. And Minnesota has rejected a constitutional amendment to ban it. So the homophobes can suck it. For years they’ve been using “every time gay marriage has been put to a vote, it has lost”, and now they won’t have that anymore. I’m not sure what they’re going to do now. I suspect they’ll blame electoral activism by unelected voters.

From what I’ve seen, Fox News’s spin is that most counties voted for Romney, so shenanigans. Or something. Also, Republicans might’ve done better if they’d deigned to adopt a platform reflecting 21st-century values. Like maybe that women and black people are humans too.

Anyway, thank you, America, and thank you Maryland. You done good tonight.

Maryland Gay Marriage Bill Fails

Well, fuckbunnies. The bill to allow gay marriage in Maryland passed the state Senate, got out of committee in the House, avoided getting stuck with several amendments (that would have sent it back to the Senate), and finally got to floor debate in the House, only to be sent back to committee.

The proponents of the bill figured they didn’t have enough votes to pass it. And AIUI sending the bill back to committee rather than allowing it to be voted on meant not forcing delegates to reveal how they would have voted. I’m just speculating here, but for all I know there might also be some procedural reason, like if a bill fails, it can’t be reintroduced for another two years; not having an actual vote might mean that it can be reintroduced sooner than that.

This is disappointing, but life goes on. I have no doubt that gay marriage will eventually become as normal as interracial marriage.

In the meantime, go home, knock back a couple of rum and cokes, and fantasize about the patriarchs at NOM gagging on a bag of cocks. You know that a lot of them will be doing the same.

Gay Marriage Passes MD Senate

In case you hadn’t heard, the Maryland Senate passed a bill allowing gay marriage. So yay! Go Maryland!

From here, it has to go to the House of Delegates, so it’s not settled yet. So if you’re in Maryland, write your delegates and tell them that you oppose special rights for heterosexuals.

If this passes, Maryland could become the marriage mecca for gay couples in Pennsylvania and West Virginia who are willing to go out of state to get married, but not as far as DC, as well as Virginians who’d rather not deal with traffic in the District.

Here Come the Religious Bigots

I mentioned earlier that there’s a bill in the Maryland legislature to allow gay marriage. So wouldn’t you know it, that’s bringing out the religious anti-equality brigade.

Via FSTDT, I learn about Protect Marriage Maryland, a group affiliated with NOM (at least, according to Yahoo! News; this fact appears neither on NOM’s nor PMM’s site, as far as I can tell. It’s almost as if they’re embarrassed to be associated with each other).

It’s just a holding page for now, but it says:

Protect Maryland Marriage is a Political Action Committee (PAC) formed to preserve the current Maryland Family Law §2-201 which states that “Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State.” The following sections go on to state that “A man may not marry his: grandmother; mother; daughter; sister; or granddaughter,” and that “A woman may not marry her: grandfather; father; son; brother; or grandson,” nor may they marry their in-laws, nieces, nephews, or similar family relations by marriage. All of this will be threatened if the marriage law is changed to benefit one small but vocal and well-funded sexual minority.

Oh, goody. A slippery-slope argument. We haven’t had one of those in, oh, fifteen minutes. If Adam and Steve are given the same legal rights as Joe and Mary, then it’s only a matter of time before daughters are having sex with their father, eating bacon is sanctioned by the state, and men are allowed to trim their beards! Who will save us from such defiance of God’s law?

We believe there is value in preserving the traditional definition of marriage, and that efforts to change this definition do violence to the family structure

Pray explain to me how allowing two men or two women to marry would affect existing marriages, or prevent me from marrying a woman?

and the reality that children do best when raised in a stable family with the love, attention, and physical presence of their biological mother and father.

I hear this argument a lot, and it basically comes down to stereotyping.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the premise is true; that the optimal environment for children is for them to be raised by their loving and attentive biological parents. Let’s say that children raised this way have a 95% chance of completing college, of holding down a steady job, of not having any serious mental problems, of staying out of prison, of not becoming addicted to any drugs, and of maintaining a healthy body weight. All of that.

Let’s say that children of gay parents, children of divorced parents, children of gay parents, children of adoptive parents, children of parents who live together but aren’t married, all do worse than the optimum.

Let’s grant all that, for the sake of argument.

So what?

Should we tell unmarried couples that, because the odds are against them, they shouldn’t even have a shot at trying to raise normal, well-adjusted kids? Is that really the argument? “You probably won’t get an A+, so you shouldn’t be allowed to try”?

Because if that’s the argument, shouldn’t we forbid interracial marriages again, if those don’t last as long as intraracial marriages? Should we forbid marriages between members of different religions, for the same reason? Should divorce be forbidden once a couple has children? Should straight married couples be forbidden from adopting children?

Should we note that most world-class mathematicians are men, and forbid universities from admitting women into their math programs?

We believe that the current marriage law enshrines this reality. While some families may not always be able to provide such opportunities to every child, keeping the current law is the best way to respect the natural family, the rights of a biological mother and father to be able to raise their own children, to educate their children and teach them their own religious values–not the religious values of the state

The state doesn’t — or at least shouldn’t — have religious values. It should be neutral. That’s what the first amendment is all about, remember? Freedom of religion and freedom from religion?

Or is “teach […] the religious value of the state” code for “acknowledging that there are people of other religions, or none, and they have the same rights as we do”? If so, first amendment again.

–and to provide the model for an ideal family for children to be raised in.

For this argument to carry any weight, everyone who is currently allowed to get a marriage certificate in Maryland has to be put in the “ideal family” category. This includes serial divorcés, people who don’t like or want children, and so on, and so forth.

We are a non-partisan group composed of many faiths, different races, and all types of citizens who are concerned for the future of our state, our country, and our world being threatened

Our world is being threatened by gay marriage? Oh, puh-leeze. Quit whining and stop exaggerating. Don’t you know that hyperbole will melt the earth’s crust and unleash flocks of flying demon-hippos to piss on the heads of the godly?

by those who seek to force moral, law-abiding citizens to embrace or accept behavior that most of us find contrary to the tenets of our deepest religious & philosophical beliefs. The first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that Congress will not violate our FREEDOM OF RELIGION. We firmly believe that as citizens of Maryland, our state legislature should do the same.

And you know what? Having the state grant marriage certificates will do nothing to stop churches from marrying whomever they like, or refusing to marry whomever they like. If you want to marry a man’s dog to his garden rake, go ahead (just don’t expect them to get a marriage certificate). And likewise, you can continue to be as bigoted as you like. Just don’t expect the state to impose your religious views on others.

The first amendment gives you the right to practice your religion. It does not give you the right to inflict it on others. You do not have the right not to be offended.

Here’s a video from ProtectMarriageMD’s YouTube channel:


Note how they’re not even pretending that this isn’t motivated by religion.

Gay Marriage Advancing in Maryland?

WaPo is reporting that a bill to allow same-sex marriage was introduced in the Maryland House and Senate.

It’s just a bill, yes it’s only a bill, and it’s sitting… um, in Annapolis-il? But still, I’m cautiously optimistic that it can pass. And if it does, that it won’t be overturned by referendum. Then again, I didn’t think Prop 8 would pass, so this isn’t a done deal.

Of course, Maryland has an argument that California doesn’t: gay couples can just catch the Metro or MARC train down to DC and get married there. I’m guessing that Annapolis would prefer if the money spent on weddings (and I don’t even want to think how much two wedding dresses cost) were spent in-state.

The same argument applies to Northern Virginia, but there’s the massive red southern part of the state (not to mention a comically-reactionary attorney general) holding them back. But once Maryland enacts marriage equality, Delaware might start worrying about its own wedding industry.

A Step Forward for Marriage Equality in Maryland

According to the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland Attorney General has released a paper saying that “same-sex marriages performed in other states could be recognized by Maryland’s legal system.”

Now, there are some big caveats: the AG isn’t a judge, so this paper doesn’t have the force of law, the way a legal decision would. Rather, as I understand it, the AG is giving his opinion that if it were ever to come to trial, a Maryland court would find that the state should recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. No court has ruled on this yet.

So so it’s premature for gay couples to break out the bubbly and file their taxes jointly. There’s still a ways to go, but it’s a step.

Update: The Post has this update:

UPDATE 2:50 P.M.: Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) says effective immediately the state recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and state agencies should begin giving gay couples the rights they were awarded elsewhere.

Hey Lookee! We Have Wingnuts Here, Too!

From Think Progress, here’s a video interview taken at CPAC of Eric Wargotz, who’s running for Senator of Murland. In the video, he reveals himself to be a birther:


Actually, the interviewer asks the questions from the recent Daily Kos poll of Republicans. For the benefit of those who don’t want to watch the entire video, I’ve summarized Wargotz’s answers. I’ve tried to be fair to him, god knows why:

  1. Should Barack Obama be impeached?
    If there’s sufficient cause.
  2. Has he been accused of anything that would warrant impeachment?
  3. Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?
    Due to his foreign upbringing, he has more socialist tendencies than most Americans. People in other countries have different perspectives on social issues.
  4. Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States?
  5. Do you believe Barack Obama wants the terrorists to win?
  6. Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election?
    There were irregularities. Don’t know to what extent.
  7. Do you think Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Barack Obama?
    I don’t think she’s less qualified.
  8. Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates white people?
  9. Do you believe your state should secede from the United States?
  10. Should Congress make it easier for workers to form and join labor unions?
    It’s already pretty easy.
  11. Would you favor or oppose giving illegal immigrants now living in the United States the right to live here legally if they paid a fine and learned English?
  12. Do you support the death penalty?
  13. Should openly-gay men and women be allowed to serve in the military?
  14. Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
    No. Civil unions, yes.
  15. Should gay couples receive any state or federal benefits?
    Depends on how the civil unions are worked out.
  16. Should openly-gay men and women be allowed to teach in public schools?
    What do you mean by “openly”?
  17. Should sex education be taught in public schools?
    Yes. But it should emphasize abstinence.
  18. In public schools, should it be taught that the book of Genesis in the Bible explains how God created the world?
    Evolution should (also) be taught.
  19. Are marriages equal partnerships, or are men the leaders of their households?
    In many cases, women are the leaders of the household.
  20. Should women work outside the home?
    It’s up to them.
  21. Should contraceptive use be outlawed?
  22. Do you believe the birth control pill is abortion?
  23. Do you consider abortion to be murder?
    In some cases, yes.
  24. Do you believe the only way for an individual to go to heaven is through Jesus Christ, or can one make it to heaven through another faith?
    I respect all faiths.

It’s tempting to give him credit for getting a number of answers right, but frankly, this is such an easy test that no one should get any answers wrong. Yes, I’ll spot him the questions on whether abortion is murder and whether illegal immigrants should have a path to legality. I’ll concede that there’s room for informed honest disagreement on those. But if he thinks Sarah Palin is as qualified to be president as Barack Obama, he’s wrong. If he thinks there’s any doubt as to whether gays should be allowed to teach, he’s wrong. Sorry if my bluntness offends, but there it is.

GOP Not Reactionary Enough for Dwyer

Don DwyerLegum’s New Line is reporting that Maryland General Assembly member, arch-reactionary, homophobe, reanimated corpse, and all-around asshat Don Dwyer (R-I Feel Sorry for Anne Arundel) has left the Republican caucus because they wouldn’t support his attempt to amend the Maryland constitution to define anything from a fertilized egg onward as a person.

I realize that Maryland is a fairly liberal state, but even so, it’s fairly impressive that Dwyer is so far to the right, he won’t even play with the Republicans.