Next up for Maryland legalization — polygamy

And so, with one vote, the Maryland Senate swung wide open the doors to polygamy in the state.

That’s where the 25-21 vote making gay marriage legal inevitably has to lead. This assertion will no doubt infuriate gay rights activists — the very idea of equating a union between two gay men or two lesbians is not equivalent to polygamy, they will rightly argue — but polygamy advocates will no doubt use the logic gay marriage supporters used to great advantage.

That logic was basically this: Gay marriage is a civil rights issue. Restricting marriage to heterosexuals is discrimination. Gays and lesbians are citizens, and should be entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals. And one of those rights is marriage. Those 25 senators who voted to legalize gay marriage in Maryland would claim that they in no way meant the same to apply to polygamy.

Those senators simply don’t get it. They now have to apply the same rule to those who believe in polygamy. Aren’t they citizens? Shouldn’t they have the same rights as heterosexuals, gays and lesbians? Why is it legal to continue to discriminate against them?

The anti-discrimination argument is the one that puts gay marriage proponents on really thin ice. Yes, it’s discriminatory that a heterosexual couple can get a big break by filing jointly on their federal tax return while a gay or lesbian couple has to pay through the nose.

But, back when I was single and my filing status was the same, I had to ask myself this question: Why is it OK for the federal government to bust my hump for not being married while giving a tax break to married couples? I mean, we’re all citizens, right?

That, proponents of gay marriage have to realize, is discrimination. If the Maryland Senate members who voted to legalize gay marriage because banning it is discriminatory, then their next order of business must be to introduce legislation eliminating the single, married filing jointly, married filing separately and head of household categories for Marylanders filing their state tax returns.

Gay rights activists and their supporters will, I’m sure, be quick to whip out their “homophobe” card upon reading this column. They’ll be half-right: I do have a fear, but it’s neither of gays, lesbians or their marrying. No, my fear is not of the bill that the Maryland Senate just voted to pass, but ones they might pass in the future.

At a panel discussion on gay marriage a few years back, one moderated by a friend of mine who just happens to be gay, I told him how I felt: You liberals, I said, have a way of asking for one reasonable thing and then trying to sneak in something completely unreasonable or, in some cases, downright unnecessary.

In the early 1960s, the late Hubert Humphrey, a champion of civil rights long before it was fashionable to do so, and a fine Minnesota senator who later became vice president, promised to eat the 1964 Civil Rights Bill if there was anything in it that might lead to quotas.

Read more here.

Not yet time to play ‘Taps’ for America’s backbone

President Barack Obama stands as Mexican President Felipe Calderon speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Notice the box near Calderon's feet. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By: Gregory Kane

This Memorial Day, there’s one gravesite I’ll make sure to visit. The only problem is, I don’t know where it’s located.

But I’m sure the object of my search is definitely dead. That would be the thing I call the Great American Backbone. Remember when this nation, and its leaders, had backbone?

That backbone must be dead. How else do you explain Mexican President Felipe Calderon swaggering into Washington D.C. earlier this month, proclaiming Arizona’s law requiring cops to question those legally stopped about their immigration status “discriminatory,” and getting a standing ovation from some members of Congress?

How else do you explain the silence from most members of Congress after Calderon urged them to pass another law banning assault weapons, as if he had the business to presume to tell us how to run our country?

Calderon is the one who can’t get a handle on drug gangs waging a veritable insurrection in his country. You’d have thought those Democrats who cheered him on would have mentioned that, but they were too busy groveling.

It was the most craven display since Nation of Islam leader Min. Louis Farrakhan chumped members of the National Association of Black Journalists – at their own convention. That one happened in 1996.

The NABJ had invited Farrakhan as the keynote speaker. He spent most of his speech dissing the journalists, talking about how their “failure” to go to bat for him when the “white media” criticized him. After he got through telling them how worthless they were, the journalists rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation.

I’m betting most of them were Democrats.

The nation’s leading Democrat, President Obama, was no better than those in Congress. After Calderon expressed his disapproval of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 during a press conference in the Rose Garden, Obama was quick to second the motion. Here’s what Obama should have said to Calderon:

“It’s inappropriate for you as a head of state to comment on our nation’s internal matters. Furthermore, Mr. Calderon, our nation liberalized its immigration laws considerably by passing the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965.

“The result has been an influx of immigrants from Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East that has transformed America into the most ethnically and racially diverse country in the world. Your country, on the other hand, has mostly Mexicans, and, compared to ours, a rather draconian immigration law.”

Yes, that’s what Obama should have told Calderon, and would have told him, if he had the backbone. But Americans who cast ballots in the presidential election of 2008 didn’t go for backbone. We went for change, hope and the audacity of hope. We had little use for backbone, and in Obama, we’ll never get it.

But my search for the gravesite of the Great American Backbone may be premature. Maybe it isn’t dead. Maybe it’s simply fled the Democratic Party and taken up residence in … Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.

It was Cornyn who chided both Calderon and Obama for the Mexican president’s stepping out of line with his comments. It was Cornyn who mustered the backbone to tell Mr. “We Send Back Them” that if he wants to be part of America’s debate about illegal immigration, then he’s more than welcome to move to this country and apply for citizenship.

When Obama and the rest of the nation’s Democrats were getting seconds and thirds of wuss juice, Cornyn was in the line getting an extra dose of backbone. I hope he has enough to spread around to the Democrats.

Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.