Six openly gay delegates have co-authored a letter to their colleagues outlining what's at stake and asking for their support:
Marriage is at its best and most effective during some of life's worst moments. The protections it affords to families are especially crucial when one's spouse is in the back of an ambulance, or rushed into emergency surgery, or dies unexpectedly. For us, as for all of Maryland's families, a marriage license will mean far more than the paper on which it is printed. For us, it means the possibility of shared health insurance, more stable homes for our children, and fewer conversations about legal documents with attorneys. We would never want the responsibility of voting on you and your spouse's will, power of attorney, or advanced medical directive, but you've been put in that position this week for our families. We have faith that when faced with the option, you will vote to allow same-sex couples the opportunity to fulfill the commitments of mutual support and shared responsibility that we have already made to one another and to our children.The letter warns against being distracted by opponents of marriage equality (NOM), who are trying to derail the process by drawing delegates into the "redefining marriage" argument:
We certainly seek to be thought of as any other family, but what is more important - and what is actually at stake with this bill - is that we are treated as any other family by the state and its laws. And on the other hand, some opponents of marriage equality will change the subject and seek to debate "the definition of marriage." But not only does this bill not affect any couple already married in Maryland, reframing the debate abstractly distracts from the very tangible protections that we seek for our families.The six also addressed the issue of civil unions, saying, "There will also undoubtedly be a debate about whether the state could design some institution other than marriage. We believe that any attempt to create a separate set of rules for our families will be far more complicated than ending the exclusion of our families from marriage and inevitably lead to unequal treatment."
Finally, the legislators thanked their colleagues who are supporting marriage equality and requested an opportunity to meet with those who may be on the fence. The letter is signed by delegates Luke Clippinger, Bonnie Cullison, Anne Kaiser, Maggie McIntosh, Heather R. Mizeur and Mary Washington. You can read the entire letter at The Washington Post's Maryland Politics blog.