Same-sex marriage opponents are bigots, not 'activists'

May 31, 2012

I cannot tell you how disturbing I found the recent article describing the petition against Maryland's same-sex marriage law ("Activists exceed petition target," May 30). The suggestion that a group of people going around the state and collecting signatures in support of discriminating against a group of Marylanders are anything other than bigots is an insult to every activist who ever risked something to protect the rights of a minority. When I saw that Rev. Derek McCoy was African-American, I couldn't help but wonder if he would call some racist collecting signatures to get a referendum to overturn a law permitting interracial marriages an "activist." I suggest to you that he would not.

I have news for Reverend McCoy and the other people who have signed this ridiculous petition: You do not have the right to deny other citizens of this state the same rights that you enjoy just because they do not share your religious beliefs. You do not have the right to vote to prohibit interracial or interfaith marriages, and same sex marriage is no different. To think that you do — or should — have this right, displays a mind-numbing misunderstanding of what this country is all about.

There is a very simple solution for any one opposed to same sex marriage — just don't marry someone of the same sex. Every argument Reverend McCoy makes in opposing same sex marriage was used by other bigots to deny rights to African-Americans. His prejudice is shameful, and he is tarnishing the legacy of true "activists," who sacrificed their freedom, their fortunes and their lives defending the rights of all people, including his.

If he was really concerned about protecting the sanctity of marriage, he would focus his energy on helping families that are struggling to stay together. Instead, he disguises his bigotry as activism, and attack loving people who want only the same rights that every other Marylander has.

The petitioners are not "activists." They are bigots. Hopefully, the next referendum doesn't attack their rights. If it did, I'd wager that they would be hard-pressed to find a same sex couple leading the charge to deny them their rights.

Matthew Azrael

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