Friday, February 25, 2011

Dear GOP Delegates,

Thank you for your continued efforts to trim our State budget and focus on initiatives that will help small businesses and encourage job growth.  It has come to my attention that you all may be debating a small matter referred to as "same sex marriage" within the next few weeks.  In considering how you may vote on this issue, I wanted to share a few items of note:

First, a recent article in the New York Times noted that opposition to gay marriage is losing steam as an issue for the National GOP.  Conservative stalwarts like Dick Cheney have even opened their arms to the LGTB community.  This is similar to the shift that began to occur in the Democratic party when segregation was no longer palatable to the national electorate.  Remember when Robert Byrd cried on the Senate floor when talking about his opposition to desegregation?  Don't be a Robert Byrd. 

Second, you are known for your attention to the bottom line.  Empassioned pleas for this or that have no place in the business of deciding how the government is going to pay its bills.  The UCLA School of Law has released a study noting a net benefit of $3.2 million for the state if same sex marriage were to pass.  Maryland license fees alone are estimated to bring in $273,000.  Let's see those budget hawks in action.  Pass same sex marriage.  Get more money. 

Finally, let's talk brass tacks -- the politics of it -- making sure you are re-elected and get to go back to Annapolis to rage against the machine.  I know you are concerned that your electorate does not support this bill.  I want you to consider the fact that the vast majority of people that are "against" same sex marriage in polls really don't give a crap.  Sure, there are some very loud voices purporting to voice the will of our Creator, but that is mostly because they are afraid of change.  When same sex marriage passes (and I'm pretty sure it will), things won't change one bit for them.  There will be no daily reminder that same sex marriage passed and you were a vote that helped that happen.  But I will tell you one thing, if you vote against the bill, and it doesn't pass (which I don't think will happen), there are voters that will have a daily reminder of what you did (or failed to do).  They are our neighbors, our brothers, our sisters, and our friends.  People don't know much about politics, but they know about the things that affect their friends.  These people will have a much greater motivation for getting out the vote than any of those who oppose this bill.  Just look at the division of advocates at the most recent delegation hearing in Howard County.

In the grand scheme of things, people will forget how you vote on the 2011 budget.  They will remember how you vote on Same Sex marriage...especially the ones that are affected.