Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –
The greatest complement, it is said, is to be copied. By that measure, Maryland has given us a great big hug.
The Maryland State Senator from Prince George’s County, Gwendolyn T. Britt, was arrested in 1960 for riding the wrong part of a segregated merry-go-round in Glen Echo Park. Since then, she had adopted a new civil rights battle: to legalize same-sex marriage.
Although she died Jan. 12, her legislation was introduced last week with 49 co-authors. The bill is almost identical to the California law that you vetoed last fall, even in name. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act would remove language in the state code that limits marriage to unions between men and women, and exempt religious leaders from having to perform or recognize same-sex unions.
I’m proud that California was the first state where the people’s branch of government put a marriage equality bill on their governor’s desk, setting an example for legislative action throughout our great nation. But I am equally sad that we were also the first state to have a civil rights bill like this vetoed by its governor.
Maryland didn’t introduce this bill to copy us, they did it because they know that strong families and individual choice are the cornerstone of Maryland’s economy and a free society. It is too late for you to sign AB 43, but it’s not too late for you to support the freedom to marry for all Californians. Please, Governor, I don’t want to have to copy Maryland.