Carroll County Commissioner Robin Frazier, R-District 1, this week announced the Board’s proclamation of Feb. 7-14 as “marriage week,” recognizing marriage as an institution that “binds men and women together in a network of mutual aid and mutual obligation,” according to the document signed by the five commissioners.
This is the second year that the board has adopted such a proclamation. The document is part of an international marriage week movement led by National Marriage Week USA and other organizations in 16 countries.
The purpose of the movement is to recognize and promote marriage, understanding, according to the organization’s website, that “social science is clear that children are best served when they grow up with both a mother and father.”
Frazier, pointing out the yellow button she was wearing that read “Proud to be a coward. Defend marriage,” reported back during Tuesday’s open meeting from a rally she attended against same-sex marriage in Annapolis Monday.
The rally was in response to Senate Bill 241 and Gov. Martin O’Malley’s support of marriage equality.
“Maryland is the seventh state that was admitted to the union by ratifying the Constitution of the United States. We can also be the seventh to pass a civil marriage equality law,” said O’Malley in a Facebook post. “I look forward to working together over the next few months to get this bill passed.”
The portion of the open meeting discussing Carroll County’s Marriage Proclamation was not on the revised agenda for the week and was discussed in an empty boardroom Tuesday.
During her speech, Frazier mentioned the rally in Annapolis and how Carroll County residents need to get involved by writing to their representatives.
“Lawyers Mall was full. There were people of all ages, all backgrounds, all religions and basically they were there to say we support God’s law and Maryland’s law of marriage being one man and one woman,” said Frazier.
She said that a vote for marriage equality is “a vote against children because the studies show that the healthier, safer, most successful road for children is to be raised by one man and one woman.”
In a statement to Patch, Haven Shoemaker, R-District 2, agreed with Frazier saying, “Traditional marriage between a man and a woman has been the cornerstone of Western civilization for a few thousand years now, and should not be messed with. Plain and simple.”
Following Tuesday’s meeting, the Carroll County Commissioners had their website updated to include a link to the Maryland Marriage Alliance website, which caused one local group to protest.
“One of our members of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) of Carroll County complained to the webmaster and only then did they move the link to the ‘Marriage Proclamation’ section,” said Matt Gibbons, a member of the Westminster chapter of PFLAG.
Gibbons, 55, of Union Bridge, is openly gay and said a bill for marriage equality in Maryland is long overdue.
“I met my spouse, Hank, in 1987 at the gay Catholic organization, Dignity. We have been together for 24 years. We espoused ourselves to each other without consent of either society or the law,” said Gibbons.
“We do not see why young people should have to go through what we went through nor live as second class citizens without the full protection of the law.”
June Horner of Eldersburg became involved in PFLAG in 1984 when she discovered her son was gay.
She admits at first she did not understand or support gay marriage but now she is fighting for it.
“I am saddened to see that our commissioners understand SB 241 -- the Marriage Protection Act -- to be an attack on the institution of marriage and that marriage as they understand it must be defended from change,” said Horner. “They are mistaken. However, I doubt anything I say here will change their minds or alleviate their fear.”
Horner attended the Judicial Proceedings Committee Hearing on Senate Bill 241 on Jan. 31.
“I witnessed the testimony of some church leaders claiming, as do our own Carroll County Commissioners, that marriage must be between one man and one woman, that the definition of marriage has always been the same, and that it cannot change. This is simply not so.”