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February 27, 2012

The Right and The Wrong

Jill King

Lately, a few controversial political maneuvers have compelled several citizens to speak at county and state meetings. Many embraced, commended, challenged, and condemned the state and county government, for proposals and decisions.


An extremely controversial challenge, to the Maryland Constitution is the legislation allowing same sex couples to be married. Since this isn’t a new concept, I have found myself analyzing and challenging my own religious beliefs – coming to a solid conclusion that calling this “marriage” should be moot.


I have had conversations with many people over the years, some with a compelling argument for a change in the state’s position on this issue. These arguments never once provided the term marriage as the answer. The need for family rights in a hospital or property rights upon death and dying is something that should be addressed, but not by challenging a spiritual definition.


Religious institutions regard marriage as defining unity, having a meaning of oneness, devotion, and between one man and one woman. Yet, religious belief should never be compelling enough to sway a federal, state, or local decision.


As created in our nation, the church remains separate from the state and the state – in retrospect – should not determine how a church practices its faith.


Originally, when the 13 colonies were developed, deep roots of English Common law were adopted. During this period women could not own property, nor seek custody of children; all property, including children was the husband’s belongings. Other states, mainly settled by the Spaniards in the southwest, permitted wives to own property.


State intervention in marriage has never held a religious interpretation; the only host they play is in the schematics of defining property.


Common law marriage, or as my father would always exclaim “shacking up,” is no longer recognized in Maryland. Once the state moved away from this, it demonstrated the lack of interest in creating an atmosphere where beliefs of a union were a part of the process.


Why are they now back pedaling?


Will they now have to give back the property rights once assumed in a common law marriage?


This defining bill in Maryland has created fallout, which will include a petition and quite assuredly another referendum on November’s ballot.


While many were watching the General Assembly, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners was hard at work passing an ordinance which is seemingly a hot button issue for some residents.


The English-Only Ordinance already exists in 31 states and a few local governments led way to a protest of sorts.


The document was written to promote an official language, used only in services and dealings provided by the county government.


This revenue enhancer drew a few who sought to compel the commissioners with speeches on various – and, yet, unrelated or indifferent – topics. Even after watching the meeting several times, I could not grasp one argument that would have made me think twice about signing this as local law; they did not convince four out of the five members of the board, either.


A local group of “occupiers,” and a few other citizens, steamily went before the commissioners, in an attempt to provide compelling testimony to put this to rest.


Many speeches were extremely well written, while some people provided impromptu comments. Unfortunately, it appeared that many of the people did not read the English-Only ordinance, or else they could not comprehend it.


Disbelief overcame me, as I heard the “facts” promoted by those in opposition to the ordinance. Most challenged its legality, even after a citizen representative from Pro-English declared that the American Civil Liberties Union backed down from pursuing a federal case involving a very similar ordinance.


One of the arguments contained the reasoning that economic growth in the area would not be retained if such a measure was passed.


According to a 2010 report on Internet World Stats, 565,004,126 English language users are on the Internet out of a world population of 1,302,275,670 in the world who use this language. These statistics only provide for single users and does not contain statistics for those who are bilingual. This document also sites that there are over a half billion users of English in India and China combined.


In finding this, there is little merit to that argument.


Several arguments were for sign language, or those who fall under the purview of the federal government’s Americans with Disabilities Act. There is nothing in this document that could trump federal or state law. In fact, the ordinance actually lists this under the exceptions.


Once again, can someone just read the ordinance?


Another misinterpretation was that this was a county-wide mandate which was targeted at Fort Detrick, Frederick Memorial Hospital, or non-citizens.


This ordinance is clearly, as written, a vessel to promoting a win-win.


In all honesty, it does change things (another argument). It creates a less burdensome measure on all taxpayers, who were once required by the county to pay taxes for services translating and creating documents.


With the vast amount of dialects spoken globally, it is nearly impossible to find translators who can accurately depict or transcribe these communications.


Accurate interpretation is important, when doing official business with the county – or anywhere one is legally bound.


The English-Only Ordinance is an equal protection; it is a fair and a proper resolution.


Lesson learned!


When providing testimony before a political body, one must compel one’s self to know the facts, think outside of the box, and keep it concise and to the point.


Ask questions of yourself and others and create a stance viewing all aspects. Don’t rely on others to provide your motivation. Don’t be just a joiner.


. . . . .Retraining my brain for the future, conferring with my past…


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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