Monday, February 07, 2011

Marriage Equality Hearings Today

I just love it when people forward me email from The Nutty Ones. They are trying to rally the troops to go to Annapolis today to lobby to "save marriage."

The dream of marriage is currently nothing more than a dream for Maryland gay and lesbian couples. You can fall in love, start a family, buy a home, but you will be denied the hundreds of legal benefits that are extended to married couples.

For some reason, some people are scared to death of the idea that somebody would marry someone of their same sex.

Yesterday's email blast comes nominally from a group called "Maryland 4 Marriage," which is a weird name since their aim is to make sure that some people who want to can't marry. The group's domain registration shows them to be registered by the National Organization for Marriage, a nutty-as-a-fruitcake rightwing group that has embarrassed itself repeatedly but keeps coming back with dumber and dumber arguments against marriage equality.

In reality, the return address on the email is Ruth Jacobs, president of the Citizens for Responsible Government in our county. Dr. Jacobs' contribution to protecting marriage is to remain single herself. This is the same group who opposed sex-ed in Montgomery County, the same group who fought so hard to keep discrimination against transgender people legal. Now, predictably, they don't want gay people to marry.

The email is trying to get their people to go to Annapolis to attend the hearing and talk to legislators. If you are one of them you are supposed to wear red white and blue, and they will have stickers for you.

What is actually the problem with marriage for same-sex couples? There isn't much to this email but they do explain:
Because these Maryland bills would remove "a man and a woman" from marriage, generational ties will be lost and Marriage law will have to be rewritten. Senate Bill 116 and HB55/175 would force Marylanders to say "Goodbye, MOM and DAD" & "Hello, Parent One and Parent Two." Children will suffer as this would legalize the exclusion of one or the other of their biologic parents.

The first link goes to a Post article noting that passport forms will now say "Parent 1" and "Parent 2" instead of Mother and Father. You know how it goes, today it's passport forms, tomorrow the Obama administration will make it illegal for children to call their parents "Mom," "Dad," Ma," "Pop," Mama," Daddy..." an entire agency will be formed to list all the names that children cannot call their parents. Sorry, people, it was good to change the form because there are a lot of couples where both are male or both are female, it doesn't make sense to make them define themselves as mothers and fathers if that isn't what they are. It's common sense and it doesn't hurt you any.

The second link is to a Baltimore Sun editorial by Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg, who is a member of Citizens for Responsible Whatever. Sprigg argues that marriage exists for procreation and keeping a family together to raise children. He is also opposed to same-sex couples adopting, in case you wondered. If you were to ask a hundred people to answer the question, "What is marriage for?" you would get a hundred answers, even if you asked a hundred experts.

I can't help but point attention to the phrase "legalize the exclusion of one or the other of their biologic parents." What does that mean? People divorce, people put kids up for adoption, parents die, parents travel and work long hours sometimes, there are all kinds of ways that biological parents are excluded from a child's life. The phrase is nonsense, these are some words that make the average Citizen for Responsible Whatever gasp with indignation but the phrase does not mean a thing. I'm sorry but I find these kinds of statements comical.

Hey, if you care about this, get in your car and get over there. Hearings are today, Tuesday, February 8th. The Citizens for Responsible Whatever did us a favor, they included direction for how to get there.
Spread the word! Forward this email to friends!

Directions for Attending the Hearing on Tuesday, February 8, 2011!

The hearing will start at 1:00 pm and be held in Room 2 in the East Wing of the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis. Your presence is very important. Please try to make it out for all or part of the hearing. Come beforehand to save seats and lobby your representatives and the senate committee.

For parking, go to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and take the shuttle. Directions to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium : Take Route 50 to Exit 24B, Rowe Blvd. Follow Rowe Blvd. to a right turn at the second stop light onto Taylor Avenue and follow the signs to a right turn into the Blue Parking Lot.

There you go.


Anonymous Interesting observation said...

Ruth Jacobs demonstrates her strong support for marriage by remaining a spinster while Peter Sprigg demonstrates his belief that the purpose of marriage is procreation by not procreating (or adopting) after one child.

The CRG could use some leaders who better practice what they preach.

February 08, 2011 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the left advocates killing babies so gays can be denied adoption of children.

February 08, 2011 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong! It's those on the far religious right, like Peter Sprigg, who would deny gays the right to be parents of unwanted discarded children procreated by heterosexuals.

February 08, 2011 1:42 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

That Ruth Jacobs apparently has never been married is not, I do not think, an appropriate basis to criticize her views. Nor is the asserted fact that Peter Sprigg and his wife have (only) one child (I have no idea if this is true and, in any event, it is not relevant.) Neither of these observations demonstrates hypocrisy. In any event, there are others, like losing BOE candidate Martha Schaerr, who are married and procreate frequently. Does that give them any greater standing to make public pronouncements that gay couples who love each other and are committed to each other as much as Mr. and Mrs. Schaerr should be denied equal marriage rights? Of course not.

Indeed, such heterosexual couples are the people who certainly should know better. They presumably understand the emotional ties and supports that come from a committed family. Why they should want to deprive loving couples who happen to be gay of such rights is truly beyond me.

February 08, 2011 8:28 PM  
Anonymous the election that meant something said...

Several bills to cut funding for abortion services are the subject of hearings and news conferences by GOP lawmakers and their socially conservative allies:

•The House Judiciary Committee today held a hearing on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. The bill would make permanent the annually renewed Hyde Amendment that bans federal funding for abortion and would forbid payments to private health insurance plans that cover abortion even when the cost of such coverage is paid for with private funds.

•The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health hears testimony Wednesday on the "Protect Life Act," a bill sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa. It also would prohibit federal funds from going to health plans that cover abortion services and would include "conscience rights" to protect hospitals that refuse to perform emergency abortions to save pregnant women's lives, even though such procedures are required by a long-standing federal law.

•Anti-abortion rights groups plan a news conference Thursday to support a bill introduced Monday by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., that would cut off $317 million in federal funding to family-planning groups that perform abortions. The measure follows a sting by the anti-abortion group Live Action against Planned Parenthood, which fired an employee caught on video giving questionable advice to a couple posing as a pimp and an underage prostitute.

"This week is a trifecta of pro-life activity," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List.

February 08, 2011 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Golly. I wonder how many jobs will be created by these GOP abortion bills and hearings. After all, jobs is what the 2010 election was all about. The people spoke and what did they get for speaking up? Not jobs but more shots fired by the religious right in the culture war. The GOP is giving voters nothing close to what they want, which is JOBS! I guess the GOP leaders on Capital Hill can't bring themselves to heed the sign hanging in front of the US Chamber of Commerce that says "JOBS"

The GOP takes control and blows it once again.

Fortunately here in Maryland, the Democrats control the legislature and MD Senate President Mike Miller, "put the chance of passing a same-sex marriage bill by his chamber at 60 to 70 percent, saying a vote could come next week.

If the bill clears the Senate, then the House of Delegates, typically the more liberal chamber on social issues, would take up the issue, deciding whether Maryland should join the District and five states that allow same-sex marriage....

The same-sex marriage bill is expected to draw very little Republican support in the Maryland legislature - where Democrats hold lopsided majorities in both chambers. But to show some bipartisan support, several Republicans testified in favor of the measure early in Tuesday's proceedings.

Among them was Chrysovalantis P. Kefalas, who served as deputy legal counsel to former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). Kefalas said Ehrlich has continued to oppose same-sex marriage. But Kefalas said he considers the legislation to be consistent with Republican principles of freedom and limited government.

Kefalas also disclosed that he is gay and long struggled to accept his identify.

"Under present law, I'm considered less of a citizen than many of you," he told the committee.

Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (Howard), the only GOP senator to have announced support for the bill, also testified, appearing on the first panel with Madaleno and Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery), the bill's lead sponsor.

"I don't speak for all Republicans in Maryland, but I speak for a lot of them," said Kittleman, who stepped down last month as Senate minority leader after getting flak for saying he would introduce a bill allowing civil unions.

Last week, Kittleman changed his mind and decided to support the marriage bill."

Read more of this WaPo article about yesterday's hearing at Same-sex marriage has good chance of approval, Maryland Senate leader says

February 09, 2011 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems, but having a baby does, one of the largest studies to compare the aftermath of both decisions suggests.

The research by Danish scientists further debunks the notion that terminating a pregnancy can trigger mental illness and shows postpartum depression to be much more of a factor.

Abortion in Denmark has been legal since 1973 -- the same year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, which established a right to abortion.

The Danish study included 365,550 teenagers and women who had an abortion or first-time delivery between 1995 and 2007. None had a history of psychiatric problems that required hospitalization. Through various national registries, researchers were able to track mental health counseling at a hospital or outpatient facility before and after an abortion or delivery.

During the study period, 84,620 had an abortion while 280,930 gave birth.

Researchers compared the rate of mental health treatment among women before and after a first abortion. Within the first year after an abortion, 15 per 1,000 women needed psychiatric counseling -- similar to the rate seeking help nine months before an abortion.

Researchers say women who seek abortions come from a demographic group more likely to have emotional problems to begin with. Statistics show that a large percentage struggle economically and they have above-average rates of unintended pregnancies.

While first-time mothers had a lower rate of mental problems overall, the proportion of those seeking help after giving birth was dramatically higher. About 7 per 1,000 women got mental health help within a year of giving birth compared with 4 per 1,000 women pre-delivery.

The most common problems among women in both the abortion and the delivery groups were debilitating anxiety, severe stress and depression.

"A woman should know that her risk of having a psychiatric episode is not increased" after an abortion, said Trine Munk-Olsen of Aarhus University, who led the study.

Results were published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. The study was funded by grants from the Danish Medical Research Council and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which supports abortion rights organizations and projects.

The study did not examine why a pregnancy was terminated. Researchers also only studied mental problems serious enough to warrant admission to a hospital or outpatient clinic and did not look into the role of mild depression and other lesser symptoms.

In a previous study, published in 2006, Munk-Olsen found new mothers faced increased risks for a host of mental problems, not just postpartum depression.

Changes in hormone levels, sleep deprivation and other demands associated with having a baby could trigger mental problems, experts say. By contrast, women who have an abortion don't experience similar changes.

"Anyone who's ever had a baby knows it's stressful. That stress doesn't go away in a week or two" after delivery, said Dr. Robert Blum, who heads the department of population, family and reproductive health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The latest findings echo an extensive review by the American Psychological Association in 2008 that found no evidence that ending an unwanted pregnancy threatens women's mental health.

A separate review by Blum and his colleagues found that the most rigorous research on the topic did not find a relationship between abortion and long-term mental health problems. Previous studies that suggested such a connection were often poorly designed, had dropout rates or did not control for factors that could affect the conclusion.

February 09, 2011 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whether or not you are inconvenient and stressful to anyone else doesn't lessen your right to live

this study is venal in intent, trying to justify the killing of the young and weak

February 09, 2011 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you think the study of 365,550 women, most of whom gave birth, is "venal." You think women are venal and must be ordered by a big intrusive government how to behave when they find themselves facing an unwanted unplanned pregnancy.

February 10, 2011 9:07 AM  

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