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Steele and Same-Sex Marriage

Gay and lesbian advocates expressed deep displeasure today with Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's decision to headline a "marriage protection summit" in Lanham earlier this week.

Steele told about 100 ministers gathered at the Hope Christian Church that he believes "marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman."

"This is the way it's always been and always should be," he said. "What part of this don't people understand? What don't they get?"

This morning, Equality Maryland sent out a broadside against Steele in response.

"Our Lt. Governor officially kicked off his anti-gay U.S. Senate campaign this week," said Executive Director Dan Furmansky. "No one is surprised that he has chosen to attack gay and lesbian Americans under the guise of "protecting" marriage. This is a transparent Karl Rove tactic designed to sway voters into thinking he is running something other than an empty shell of a campaign."

Matt Mosk

By Phyllis Jordan  |  May 5, 2006; 9:25 AM ET
 
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Comments

Obviously, Lt. Gov. Steele is using the Gay Marriage issue to take attention away from the incredible misdeeds his administration and the bush administration have inflicted on us, including Iraq war, raiding s.sec.,faulty medicare, failed homeland security and loss of our ports and borders, energy costs, cuts in veteran benefits, and non suport of our troops, shredding the u.s.and state constitutions, faith based initiative funding into public schools...the list of high crimes and DeLay,Abramoff,Rove,Cheney,misdemeanors...all of which go uncheck, bush new dictatorship..but of course none of this matters at voting time, just so long as gay rights are taken away, and freedom to marry whom one chooses is stopped. We all know that is the burning issue of the day.

Posted by: Dr. Bob Brogna | May 5, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

This is truly a sad tactic. Use a wedge issue to throw red meat to your base at the expense of a minority. I'm looking toward Steele's crushing defeat in Novemeber. I think that we are about to see this issue come back in full force at the federal level. A bill to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage is coming up soon. It's coming just in time to distract the public from the Republican's misearble failure at governing this country. Steele is just warming up for the main hatefest that is about to come our way...

Posted by: Mr. K | May 5, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

You know, this is an issue like abortion to me, and it'd be nice if everyone else could see it this way:

Don't want a same-sex marriage, then don't have one. Don't want an abortion, then don't have one.

If I want to be wedded to my same-sex partner, what business is it of anyone else? The idea that same-sex marriage is somehow going to tear down the "institution of marriage" is absurd: massive divorce rates among hetero couples are doing a great job of that.

I defy someone to show any proof at all that the "institution of marriage" has been adversely affected in anyway in any place that has legalized same-sex marriage (or civil unions). The reality is that there is no proof; it's all about people who simply can't get over what homosexuals do in their bedrooms.

Can we really move on to real issues. This wedge issue crap is going to backfire on the ultra-conservatives one day, when enough people say decide its time to stop bashing minorities. It used to be women and black people; today they have nobody to center on except people who don't speak English and gays.

Posted by: corbett | May 5, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

What is Steele's stance on early voting, which would help low income working , seniors and minority voters in particular?

Posted by: Voter Suppression | May 5, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Well, actually marriage has NOT always been about "one man and one woman". Obviously, the candidate lacks an historical perspective of what "marriage" looked like through the ages. This canard that marriage has always been about "one man, one woman", is just that, a canard. When will someone finally just point out that such comments are nonsense, have no factual basis and demonstrate the complete and utter ignorance of the speaker presenting such as "fact". Please, I hope your voters are smarter than most in this country and don't fall for this kind of stupidity...

Posted by: Doug | May 5, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

i'm a lifelong republican, and i find this tactic is just plain insulting. please, fellow gop'ers, can't we revolt against this government-in-your-face nonsense?! can't we stand for real governance?!

Posted by: andy | May 5, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Especially in an issue as polarizing as this, framing the debate is very important. That's why it's pro-choice vs. pro-life, and not pro-compulsion vs. pro-death.
Whatever our personal feelings may be in terms of gays and gay marriage (which are two distinct issues, by the way), it does a disservice to all intelligent and rational people to throw out words like "hatefest".
Disagreeing with the concept of same-sex marriage has no necessary connection to whether one hates gays.
To paint a broad brush by saying that all opponents of gay marriages are hatemongering bigots is the same as characterizing all gays as either flaming girlie men or butch manly women.
Speak about the issue itself.

Posted by: moderate | May 5, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

What happens if a couple is married and one has a sex-change operation? Is the marriage null and void? And can a couple be married if one of them has had a sex change operation? Is once a man always a man? What about hermaphrodites?

Posted by: jim | May 5, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

If Michael Steele thinks that this is the only issue most black voters in my church care about, then he will be defeated and I will jump for joy. This is a play from the 2004 Rove playbook. Michael Steele, Bush and Co. and the rest of the Republican lot think that rehashing the gay marriage issue will scare people into voting for them. Much has changed since 2004 and ideological wedges issues don't address high gas prices, tax cuts, deficit spending, rising health care costs, a losing war in Iraq and potential war in Iran. Most Americans, gay or straight, black, white or whatever, care most about these issues.

Posted by: jules | May 5, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I applaud Mr. Steele. Marriage is the union of 1 man & 1 woman...period.

The fact that this is even debated just shows the depths of depravity to which this society has fallen.

If "Gay Marriage" was to ever come to pass...what'll be next...legal incest? Group marriage? Bestiality?

That's absurd you say? Well, if anyone had brought forth the idea of "Gay Marriage" 15 years ago it would have been dismissed as absurd too.

Posted by: Registered Voter | May 5, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Millions of churchgoers sincerely believe that homosexual sexual relations are morally wrong (just as they believe adultery, theft and murder are wrong). Mr. Steele may well be one of them.

Posted by: Why Assume It's a Ploy? | May 5, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Moderate...if you would like me to be more specific about the "hatefest" I will gladly comply. There are many people out there who disagree with gay marriage on "moral grounds" or have some other sort of rationalization, which is fine and is their right; however, many people are filled with hate. Prejudice toward gays is openly tolerated in this society. People don't put their emotions on the shelf when it comes to gays and gay marriages. How many times do we have to listen to rants about gay people destroying our "moral society" or that gay people marrying will cause disaster. How many gay people are harassed and sometimes hurt because of our bigotry? It's hatred and fear that are at the heart of the vocal opposition. People fear what they don't understand and this rally against gay marriage is the product of it.

Posted by: Mr. K | May 5, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Lt. Gov. Steele was quoted in yesterday's paper as saying that marriage is a contract between a man, a woman and God. Does that mean that he doesn't recognize marriages between athiests either -- or, for that matter, anyone married in a civil ceremony?

Posted by: ralph | May 5, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Registered Voter,

What do you have against two consenting adults committing to each other? The fact they are the same sex shouldn't mean anything, especially in a civil setting. Nobody is forcing anything to happen inside your house of worship, and the last time I checked, this country was founded on the idea that all men are equal.

Why shouldn't same-sex couples have the same rights as anyone else? You know, slippery slope arguments are usually instructive in some way, but the idea that allowing same-sex marriage would some day lead to lawful incest and beastiality is not only, well, retarded, it's offensive.

People made the same arguments against mixed race marriages 50 years ago. I suppose those shouldn't be allowed either. Hey, maybe that's what's lead to this whole same-sex marriage thing to begin with.

Posted by: corbett | May 5, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

As Hookergate shows, the Republican Party has no credibility when it comes to its claim to care about the "sanctity of marriage."

Gays and lesbians who respect the institution of marriage and want to participate in it should not be denied that ability just because other people don't like who they are.

Posted by: Nick | May 5, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Corbett,

Pooh pooh it if you wish. 15 years ago, if anyone had seriously suggested "Gay marriage" be legal & legitimate, it would have been construed as, well, to use your words, "retarded" and "offensive". Now it is debated as being legitimate. Welcome to the slippery slope.

Posted by: Registered Voter | May 5, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"This is the way it's always been and always should be," he said. "What part of this don't people understand? What don't they get?"

Insert as you see fit, feel free to add to this short list:

- Monarchy.
- Slavery.
- Women not voting.
- Polio.
- Jim Crowe laws (separate but equal).
- Marriage as only a covenant between one man and one woman.

Some call it progress and some call it depravity. I'll let you decide.

Posted by: A Sense of Historical Perspective | May 5, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't see how same sex marriage threatens a mixed sex marriage in any way. I don't see my marriage as threatened by my homosexual friends. It's just like gays in the military. My husband, formerly of the USAF, has always said that a homosexual can stop a bullet just as well as a heterosexual. I don't know if 50% of homosexual marriages will end in divorce as heterosexual marriages do, but they should have the opportunity to try!

Posted by: Sue | May 5, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Well thank God someone is willing to tackle the real issues facing us today. After all everyone knows that oil prices, global warming, a never ending war in Iraq, open borders, plunging wages, a pending pandemic, and out sourcing of American jobs are red-herring issues.

Vote him in on this issue and you get exactly what you deserve.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Well thank God someone is willing to tackle the real issues facing us today. After all everyone knows that oil prices, global warming, a never ending war in Iraq, open borders, plunging wages, a pending pandemic, and out sourcing of American jobs are red-herring issues.

Vote him in on this issue and you get exactly what you deserve.

Posted by: Tired of it all | May 5, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

There simply is no legitimate, rational reason to keep same-sex couples from marrying. Gays are so often depicted as promiscious, and here we have loving couples that want to make an open and real commitment to each other and yet they can't. Why? I would love for someone, anyone to present any documented proof as to why same-sex couples should be discriminated against? Do they not love each other the same as heterosexual couples? Where's the proof that this will harm the traditional family unit? Where's the proof that same-sex marriage in other countries or in Mass. has done damage to, well, anything?

The answers to these questions are easy: They love the same. There is no proof. And, if you look at the divorce rates in Mass. you'd see that the rate for same-sex couples is miniscule compared to heterosexual couples.

Why is this even an issue? If you aren't gay, it simply doesn't affect you.

Posted by: corbett | May 5, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I found Steele's comments about "how that is the way it has always been and always will be" interesting. Wasn't that the same kind of logic that was used to justify slavery and keeping women from voting (or being in the military)? Wonder where he would be if tradition had trumped - certainly not anywhere near the Governor's mansion.

Posted by: ChrisnDC | May 5, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Although Steele has weighed in on the gay marriage debate before, this is the first time that he made an official statement on it. But apparently, if you say something only once, then that's all you're concentrating on. And if you speak as to your views, then evidently you're just stealing a page from the Rove playbook.

Speaking of the Rove playbook, it would make sense to me if the Democrats finally stole a page from it. Rove has used his playbook to build a majority that only a minority support. If the democrats could steal a page, and build a majority that a majority supports, then maybe things would be better.

Unfortunately, many care for nothing more than meaningless slogans and vacuous sentences. Grow up people.

Posted by: nlc | May 5, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The question i have for all these uber-Christians that care so much about other people following what they believe God wants, is why don't you leave it up to the Almighty to pass judgement! That's what you all believe right, if someone does something wrong, God will punish them, so why are you all standing in the schoolhouse doorway trying to stop people from entering into a contract? From the government's standpoint that's all marraige is, so if two same sex people want to enter into a contract, then they should be allowed like everyone else. If you have a church and you don't want to marry same sex people, go right ahead, I'd only have questions for the gay couple that wants to go to a church that scorns and discriminates against them, not the believers that are trying to do what they think God wants. But government is different, we are all in this together and denying someone from entering into a contract is unconstitutional, no matter how you slice it.

Posted by: RCD | May 5, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Finally, a use for all the sheet plastic and duct tape we purchased back in '02:

Step 1. If you see any consenting adults engaging in behaviors that you personally find distasteful, don't panic, proceed to your home and fill several containers with water.
Step 2. Use the plastic and tape to seal all entrances to the house.
Step 3. Place your marriage in Lt. Gov. Steele's patented "Marriage Protection Cannister"
Step 4. Cower in the bath until Lt. Gov. Steele chases the scary people away.

God forbid we have any civil rights or even civility about the place.

Posted by: Weary in MD | May 5, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the one who is an empty shell is Dan Furmansky and those of you who know how difficult it is to defeat someone who may take away your votes. After the millions and millions of $$$ you have spent trying to buy the "black" vote (or using scare tactics), here comes someone is erasing some of that, you run scared. Are you going to call to throw OREOS at him again? Or maybe you think calling him an Uncle Tom will be the salvation. Or, linking him w/ President Bush - who has appointed African Americans to some of the highest posts in the land will do it?

You are running scared.

Posted by: A Silver Spring Resident | May 5, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

To RCD, maybe we should allow 13 year olds and 65 year olds from entering those same contracts.

Posted by: A Silver Spring Resident | May 5, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if Mr. Steele knows that one (black) man and one (black) woman could not have gotten legally married in the antebellum south. His comment was nonsensical.

Times do change, and Steele will lose.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | May 5, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

RCD, not that I disagree with your message, but your point is absolute gibberish.

"That's what you all believe right, if someone does something wrong, God will punish them, so why are you all standing in the schoolhouse doorway trying to stop people from entering into a contract?"

According to your argument, we shouldn't punish robbers either 'cause God will punish them in the end.

Posted by: nlc | May 5, 2006 7:43 PM | Report abuse

So believing marriage is between a man and a woman thereby makes you anti-gay? A lot of you need to take some basic logic classes. P->Q does not equal Q->P

Posted by: Bryan | May 5, 2006 8:27 PM | Report abuse

People don't seem to realize gay-marriage isn't a new concept or suddenly going to create gay couples. Surprise - they already exist! And many of them have children!

Gay marriage is needed to protect these couples and their children. It's not about religion - it's about inheritance rights, tax benefits, medical benefits, real estate ownership, etc.

The couples that want to get married have already been in relationships for many years. Extending legal protection of marriage to these families changes nothing for everyone else in the community, however, it creates great security for those who benefit.

Gay couples without the rights of marriage haven't been able to be with their dying partner, aren't able to receive social security benefits of their partner for their children, or have a claim to the home they lived in for 30+ years - to name just a few examples.

Where are the stories of how "traditional" families in Massachusetts or Vermont have been destroyed because of two men or two women having inheritance rights?

The only thing harming the institution of marriage is heterosexual couples who don't understand the word "commitment".

Maryland is a progressive state. Mr. Steele should remember not long ago blacks or women were not allowed to vote or hold public office. I'm sure efforts to extend those rights were opposed using very similar arguments as we are hearing today on this issue. Where would Steele be today if those arguements had prevailed?

Posted by: JE in Montgomery County | May 5, 2006 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Mr. Steele on this one.

Liberals, gays and gay activists want the government out of their bedrooms, but the government (which represents the wants and needs of its people and most Americans do not support gay marriage) is supposed to change its laws to appease a person's lifestyle choice.

Posted by: Mr. Grey Ghost | May 6, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

THANK YOU CHRISNDC!!!

Most useful comment I have read - the height of irony that a black senatorial candidate would raise the defense of tradition to avoid having gays share in marriage equality!

Posted by: Paul Foley | May 8, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

As a strong Steele supporter, I am disappointed in his stance on this issue. I didn't expect much different from a Republican candidate, but I'm disappointed nonetheless.

Whether a man marries a man should be of no concern to anyone except those two people. We certainly don't need a federal amendment to stop this.

While disappointed with Steele, I still plan on voting for him. He's a much better candidate than either Cardin or Mfume.

BTW, what is Cardin's stance on gay marriage? I think Mfume is supportive, but what of Cardin?

Posted by: MK | May 8, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

And btw, Marriage is a contractual relationship between two individuals, recognized by the state. Thats why we have marriage licenses.

It has nothing to do with G-d.

G-d loves everyone.


Posted by: Marriage has nothing to do with God | May 9, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

So let's see to pass a Constitutional Amendment we need:

A) 2/3 of the House and Senate and then 3/4 of the state legislatures to ratify.

B) 2/3 of the state legislatures to call a Constitutional Convention and then 3/4 of the state legislatures to ratify.

For it or against it, it isn't going to happen. People like to use it as a wedge issue one way or the other, but it is kind of silly since the realistic prospects of it are slim to none.

Posted by: Bryan | May 11, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to clear up a misconception that I see regurgitated endlessly on the internet. As a Black woman I resent having same-sex marriages compared to marriages of people of mixed races. They are profoundly different.

First and foremost the law against miscegenation was only valid in European countries, specifically America. There was never a worldwide prohibition against mixed-race marriages. The same cannot be said of same sex marriage. Gay people cannot name any country in the world (until fairly recently) where their marriages would have been recognized. Even today, there are many places, specifically in the Middle East and Africa, that will not recognize those 'marriages' no matter how many legal documents are produced.

Posted by: Isis | May 19, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Isis, Same-sex unions/marriages are documented in the ancient world, in China, in Native American societies, in Christian Europe and yes Isis, even in Africa. Passions of the Cut Sleeve by Bret Hinsch and Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe by Yale Historian John Boswell are among the many books that address this issue.

Opposition to gay marriage may not always be rooted in vicious hatred, but it is rooted in fear and/or ignorance. It is an emotional reaction to that which one does not or is unwilling to understand. Gay couples cohabitate in every state in the United States, their friends and families often consider them married despite what the law says.

From both a secular and Christian perspective it is simply unjust and immoral to deny these committed couples legal recognition that would give them greater stability, greater security and the means necessary to care for each other and their children. It is sad that this reality is lost on so many politicians and religious leaders.

Gays and lesbians are human beings whose lives are just as sacred and any other person's life; it shameful, indeed sinful to debase, humiliate and use hurtful (often hateful) rhetoric against them in a quest for worldly political or religious power.

Posted by: Seminarian | June 19, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse

yeah. i don't hate black people, i just don't think they have any right to vote.

they never did in the past, not until some ridiculous act that paid NO attention to history. sorry, but black people couldn't vote- they never could and they never should have been allowed to. look at all the mess that happened over it! black people wanted special rights, like voting, and then women did! what's next? cows and horses? they gays are already clamoring for other "rights" now too!!

you may say that's absurd, but that's what's next! look at what's happened already!

and no, i'm not a racist, i just sincerely believe that black people shouldn't vote.

what? why don't you people get it?

Posted by: give me a break | October 4, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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