Same-sex marriage was approved by popular vote in the state of Maryland during the November 2012 elections. Couples could apply for marriage licenses beginning December 6, but ceremonies could not begin until January 1, 2013. A well-known hate group, the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, came out to protest at courthouses in Annapolis and Towson when ceremonies began to be performed on New Year’s Day.
Ironically, their efforts to protest and disrupt the legally binding commitment ceremonies of people in love were defeated by the sheer force of love.
The protesting voices of four Church members were drowned out by a chorus of 250 community members (organized by a local Episcopal church and including representatives of local Presbyterian, Unitarian and Baptist congregations). The community came together, raising their voices in song, singing carols to overshadow the message of hate. According to the Baltimore Sun, “When people came to our city to preach hate, we stood up to them,” Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen said after the protest ended. “It was a beautiful scene.”
Joining in the Annapolis anti-hate protest were several Annapolis High School students, who skipped their first-period history class (with the blessing of their teacher). “Their whole organization is offensive,” said one student. “They were here to preach hate, we were there to preach love.”
It thrills me to see Americans come together to do the right thing. All in the name of love.
Once again, congratulations to all the newlyweds and to those planning to take the plunge!