The gay-marriage debate in Maryland is clearly all about the love—not just the love between two lads or ladies but also the love (or lack thereof) between those who support gay marriage and those who don’t.
Well, maybe it’s not love, exactly.
Defend Maryland Marriage, a group that wants to strengthen the state’s prohibition against same-sex wedlock, for example, claims on its web site that “we love and pray for all men.”
“We recognize that all men are created in God’s image and that God loves each of us unconditionally. But He does not love all behaviors,” the site continues. “Therefore, we defend God’s first social institution, the bonding of a man and a woman as family. We are committed to not remain silent as the homosexual agenda attempts to overtake the laws and social order of Maryland.”
The Nose does not embrace the same kind of love that Defend Marriage Maryland seems to be spreading, but we were relieved to note when we read the web site recently that the group had at least toned down its, erm, affection for gay Marylanders. Just a few weeks ago, the message at the web site was particularly shrill:
“We believe it is necessary that church leaders across Maryland be exposed to the vile and militaristic agenda of extreme homosexual activists,” it intoned. “Moral leaders must become aware of their intent to sodomize our children. . . . [We] urge that every church exposes the ugly realities of the homosexual movement to its members. Their intent is to indoctrinate our children with the homosexual lifestyle. This is currently happening in many public and private schools across our state. We will remain silent no longer!”
The Nose contacted Dan Furmansky, executive director of Equality Maryland, Maryland’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil-rights organization, to ask him what he thought of Defend Maryland Marriage’s change in tone.
“It makes me feel like not everyone involved in this [anti-gay-marriage] effort is completely unreasonable,” Furmansky told the Nose. “Perhaps we can come together and realize our common humanity.”
The Nose also contacted the Rev. Rick Bowers, chairman of Defend Maryland Marriage, to ask why the group is opting for the kinder, gentler “love” that it’s now pushing on the site.
“I don’t think that [original message] accurately reflected how we feel,” Bowers said, adding that the really anti-gay stuff his group talks about refers mostly to the “extremes” of the gay-rights movement, not the average gay or lesbian individual.
“We don’t have malice toward anyone,” he says. “We just don’t agree with their lifestyle.”
Defend Maryland Marriage’s newfound generosity of spirit toward gay Marylanders is particularly well-timed, the Nose notes. On Feb. 14—Valentine’s Day—there will be a pro-gay-marriage-rights rally in Annapolis, at which Furmansky expects several hundred attendees. Speakers will include Maya Keyes, daughter of Maryland’s famously anti-gay politician Alan Keyes.