Op-Ed: Another Step for Justice for All by Linda Dutton

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Yesterday, another step toward justice for all was offered by our US Supreme Court. The ruling strengthened our Maryland Marriage Equality Act of 2012 by connecting more than 1000 federal laws involving marriage to same sex couples who have legally “tied the knot” per the requirements of their state laws. In Maryland, we legalized same sex marriage beginning in 2013…and now these families will also pay all taxes, access a wider variety of services and travel with less fear of discrimination among other benefits and responsibilities.

The ability for couples to engage equally as married citizens also brings respect to families. The value of being respected as a “real” family is immeasurable. If you don’t understand why this is a big deal, please be curious enough to try to “get it.” Reach out to others who are pleased with these new laws. Talk with a local friend or seek understanding from your friendly local chapter of PFLG, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. We value and support the future of same sex married families and want others to understand more about them. These families are proud of their civic roles; they take on parenting with intention as well as with great love; and they are our relatives, neighbors and co workers.

Finally, we know our children are learning constantly. We cannot predict who they will grow up to be or what their futures hold, but we know they will need other caring people in their lives. We also know that being treated with respect in a safe environment encourages children to engage with others. These facts are fundamental to youth led Gay/Straight Alliances (GSAs). Would you support such a club in our community? This is the time to reach out one another, regardless of age or history, as we affirm gay families and their allies among us. Because of their widespread courage to come out to the rest of society, they have created a time of remarkable change. All of us are asked to consider what it means to be married, to raise a family, and to be a citizen. Their challenges and answers are as important as your own in a country that values liberty and justice for all.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Chapters exist to provide the support, education and advocacy services that are needed now. Our local chapter meets monthly and offers our community access to excellent resources that have been praised nationwide. Please spread the word and help us create a community where all families enjoy the freedom and the fair treatment so basic to everyday life. For more information email pflagchestertown@gmail.com, call 443 480 3138 or visit PFLAG.org. Check out our local face book page and watch for a new local chapter website in the weeks ahead.

Linda Dutton
PFLAG
Chestertown Chapter

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