Gay Marriage--Beyond the Politics
As lawmakers and jurists across Annapolis geared up for the aftermath of a judge's ruling Friday that struck down a 1973 law banning same sex marriage, the result was far more personal for a College Park couple who cheered it and some Prince George's ministers who didn't.
Dave Kolesar, 28, and Patrick Wojahn, 30, has signed on as plaintiffs when the ACLU decided to challenge Maryland's law, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
They had their day in court in Baltimore last August, and then waited for months for Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock to make her decision.
Kolesar, an engineer at the US. Naval Research Laborartory admitted he never allowed himself to hope too hard.
Then came Friday's ruling. It bowled him over.
"It really is exciting," he said soon after hearing the news. "I wasn't ready mentally for success."
The case must still wend its way through appeals courts, as well as political fallout in the General Assembly.
He and Wojahn, a lawyer, said they became convinced of the importance of the legal rights of marriage during a medical crisis in 1996. After Kolesar nearly died from a rare brain infection, the two men, realized how crucial it was to them to be entitled to be involved in one another's medical decisions.
"One of the rights is to be able to visit a spouse in the hospital," said Wojahn. "If we win at the court of appeals level, we'll finally have that right."
Added Kolesar, "We want to make sure we can take care of each other."
Not everyone was so delighted by the decision.
Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Lanham, said the judge's ruling will disproportionately affect the African American community.
"This is another step in the devaluing of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman," said Jackson, the founder of a conservative group of African-American ministers, who has been speaking out across the country against same-sex marriages.
"The biggest impact of this legislation will be in the African-American community because 70 percent of the babies born in the African-American community are to unwed mothers, so the logic is more people will not wait to get married. We are not taking this lying down."
The Rev. Eric Redmond, pastor of the Hillcrest Baptist Church in Temple Hills, said he spoke to the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus in Annapolis regarding the issue of same sex marriages.
"My concern is legalizing same sex unions teaches a society that marriage is only about fulfilling sexual and emotional desires," Redmond said."I think homosexual can can have equal civil rights with heterosexuals without altering the historic definition of marriage."
Mary Otto and Hamil R. Harris
Posted by: George Blumenthal | January 22, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bryan | January 22, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.