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03/02/2011

Reexamining Maryland marriage: What did 'dangerous legislation' look like in 1939?

by Jeremy Hooper

These days, Maryland social conservatives act as if the state's civil marriage laws cannot, should not, and will not be reexamined through a modern lens, since "traditional marriage" is and has always been an undebatable perfect. They paint the man/woman, two-partner, legally consenting, of-age marriage system as both goodly and Godly, overlooking anything inconvenient that might tarnish the limited historical lens.

But check this out. Almost seventy-two years to the day, another Democratic (and female!) delegate was taking a bold look at Maryland's marriage civil laws, pushing for policy that she felt would better befit the public's wants and needs and protections. She perceived a failing in the "traditional marriage" of the time so she proposed a reconsideration of that long held tradition. And the Democratic delegate did this, even as opposition painted her bill as "dangerous legislation." Journey back:

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Few Marylanders of 2011 would object to raising the marital age above 12-years. In fact, a majority would most likely insist. Most are surely unaware that the state's marriage tradition ever even allowed for such youthful unions.

We're convinced that even fewer Marylanders of 2083 will object to the supposed "dangerous legislation" of this day.

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