The Washington Blade has published the names and addresses of 110,000 Marylanders who are opposed to the right to marriage for gay and lesbian couples in the Free State, drawing mixed reaction of people from different walks of life.
The Blade said it obtained a database of the names from the Maryland Board of Elections.. The list is searchable and includes names, addresses and whether the signature was deemed valid.
Maryland governor Martin O’Malley signed the marriage equality law on March 1 at the state capital, Annapolis.
According to an Associated Press report, Maryland’s new law legalizing same-sex marriage does not go into effect until January, leaving time to put the measure on the ballot for voters to decide. The report said opponents of gay marriage had amassed double the number of 55,736 signatures that were needed to put the issue on the ballot in the presidential elections in November.
Maryland might become the first state in the history of the United States to adopt the marriage law through ballot, but diehard Christians and some Muslims, who are sympathetic to political Islam, have vowed to have the gay marriage law annuled.
In College Park, openly gay councilman Patrick Wojahn told this scribe he is confident young and open-minded voters would turn out in large numbers in the November elections to protect the gay marriage law.
According to Blade reader Tom Lang, director of KnowThyNeighbor.org, his organization was the first to publish names of signers of anti-gay ballot initiatives online, back in 2005.
“KnowThyNeighbor was met with harsh criticism back in 2005 from our own MassEquality, HRC members and similarly in Washington State etc. I am glad to see the Washington Blade has the courage to post the names of Maryland signers and though one would think this is a no-brainer, you need to be commended,” Lang said.
He asked LGBT workers and allies to look to signers in Maryland and you will find friends and family members, people you employ and owners of establishments you patronize. “Now and in the years to come, you will find also, politicians running for office who may or may not have a good enough answer as to why he or she signed this initiative to take away rights. And know…once you see names your recognize…your true work begins,” Lang commented.
Blade reader Richard Skolasky was thrilled at the publishing of the names. “… I have searched for signers that live in my neighborhood. I found 5 houses out of 300 that signed,” he said. “While I am pleased that the list didn’t include more of my neighbors, I am confused how to proceed. Should I introduce myself to these people so that they can meet a happily married gay couple? Should I send them a card? Should I just ignore their bigotry as I walk through the neighborhood with my husband?…”
However Daniel Malloy was displeased and equated the Blade move to a form of Nazism.
“This constant equating of being against same sex marriage as being bigoted against gays is political correctness gone amuck,” Malloy said. “Many of these people may be in favor of civil unions or ways of equalizing tax laws, but are opposed to changing the definition of marriage as it has existed forever. Now trying to intimidate these people by publishing their addresses is a tactic worthy of the Nazis.”
Bob Hill, who appears to be highly religious, comments, “Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. And that is what God’s says. Do these people think they are better than God?”
The AP cited Derek McCoy, executive director of Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group that collected the 110,000 signatures as saying it spent $100,000 on the campaign.