Guns and Marriage

Commentary by Ron Miller

Commentary by Ron Miller.The actors and comedians in Maryland government make it easy to write about politics in the Free State because they are improvisational at heart - they never stick to a script.

Witness the recent opinion issued by state Attorney General Doug Gansler, a Democrat (what else?) from Montgomery County and a long-time supporter of gay "marriage." He ruled that Maryland must recognize gay "marriages" from other states and, while it doesn't affect private businesses, at least not yet, state agencies are directed to implement the ruling immediately regarding benefits and other privileges granted to legitimately married couples in the state.

The groaning from the State House could be heard all the way down here in southern Maryland. Democrats are having a hard enough time dealing with the budgetary consequences of their fiscal mismanagement, not to mention quelling the anti-incumbent sentiment this election year.

The gay "marriage" issue is radioactive, regardless of which side is addressed. Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a black Democrat from Baltimore, had already submitted a bill early in the current session barring the recognition of gay "marriages" from other states, and that bill was defeated. Del. Burns apparently foresaw this grandstanding move by Mr. Gansler, a telegenic young politician with higher aspirations.

What is it with telegenic young politicians with higher aspirations? Shouldn't they have to actually live outside the political bubble and in the real world for a while before aspiring to leadership? But I digress.

Needless to say, Mr. Gansler's ruling set off a flurry of activity in Annapolis. Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat and the state's longest serving senator, is pursuing a bill similar to Burns' defeated measure, and it's scheduled to be heard this week.

Senate president Thomas V. "Mike" Miller declared, "The far right will look to find the right case, probably in Harford County or the Eastern Shore. They'll forum-shop, and it'll ultimately be decided by the Court of Appeals."

Oh, so Del. Burns and Sen. Stone, members of your own party, are now "far right"? Your black constituents in Prince George's and Calvert counties, most of who oppose gay "marriage," are now "far right"? The "blue dog" Democrats in your district, like your old friend George Owings, are "far right"? The parishioners at your church, and the congregations at churches across southern Maryland, are "far right"? Are you, an avowed opponent of gay "marriage," "far right"?

"The far right" isn't the only faction in Maryland opposed to redefining marriage and likely to seek relief in the courts; in fact, I suspect the Maryland Conference of Catholic Bishops will take the lead. The notion that only the "far right" stands between gays and the altar is a political creation rather than recognition of fact. The old bull is either out of touch or, more than likely, using the occasion to take another shot at constitutional conservatives, who actually believed the Maryland law that states marriage is strictly between one man and one woman is - well, the law.

Now, Gansler's opinion, despite a 2004 ruling from the previous state Attorney General to the contrary, opines that nothing prevents Maryland from recognizing the laws of other states. He cites Maryland's recognition of common law marriages from out of state as an example. Mike Miller said he understands the ruling from a legal perspective, even though he disagrees with the policy implications of it. "I believe the state must give full faith and credit to the laws of our sister states," Miller said.

OK, then, what about guns?

Yes, guns.

Ann Miller, writing in the Baltimore Examiner, suggested that the "full faith and credit" clause could conceivably be extended to gun permits.

I agree. If we're so hell-bent on recognizing laws from other states, we should permit people from states with constitutionally sound gun laws to exercise their rights in our state.

After all, the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, codified in the Bill of Rights and recently reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The right to keep and bear arms stands on much firmer legal footing than the redefinition of marriage, which is currently forbidden in 40 states. Therefore, we should "give full faith and credit to the laws of" the 39 states that have "shall-issue" laws, meaning state officials may not arbitrarily deny a citizen's concealed-carry application.

The empirical evidence favors such a ruling, since states that enacted "right-to-carry" laws have seen dramatic decreases in violent crime, and even opponents of the laws have admitted they aren't as bad as they believed. Law-abiding citizens have proved to be quite responsible with guns, which may shock the nannies in our General Assembly, the condescending lawmakers who think we're all gap-toothed idiots itching to shoot something.

So if it's OK to recognize gay "marriages" in Maryland because of five states and the District of Columbia, then there should be no problem with extending full "faith and credit" to the 39 states with "shall-issue" laws, the states that believe the criminals and the government shouldn't be the only ones who have guns.

Mr. Gansler wants to encourage gay couples who get "marriage" licenses in D.C. to domicile in Maryland, so let's have our neighbors in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia come on over, packing heat and making our law-breaking friends think twice about jacking someone up.

I should add that there's already a bill addressing this very topic under consideration in the General Assembly, House Bill 52, "Regulated Firearms - License Issued by Delaware, Pennsylvania, or Virginia - Reciprocity." Mr. Gansler's rationale for opening the state to "married" gay couples ought to give Del. Mike Smigiel, the sponsor of the bill, added justification for its passage.

Mr. Gansler can't shoot holes in the gun law reciprocity argument - pardon the pun - without discrediting the rationale for his own ruling. So let the games begin - I just love improv!

Ron Miller, of Huntingtown, is a military veteran, conservative writer and activist, former and current candidate for the District 27 Maryland Senate seat, communications director for the Calvert County Republican Party, and executive director of Regular Folks United, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  Ron is a regular contributor to, American Thinker, and You can also follow Ron on his website, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

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