On behalf of PFLAG of Chestertown—that is, on behalf of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in the greater Chestertown community—I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every voter who helped make civil marriage for same sex couples legal in the state of Maryland.
I can assure you that many local families are not only thrilled, they also are relieved.
Members of our organization have met many of you at our Farmer’s Market table since last spring, and over time, we have recognized subtle shifts in the reactions of people who approached us to talk about the issues that have social and economic impacts on the lives of gays and lesbians. Early on, while many folks would express surprise to see us and support when they read our signs and materials, some others would read the signs and quickly grab a companion’s arm, pulling them in a different direction as if to protect the other person from even seeing us.
As the weeks went by, however, people at the market in Fountain Park got used to PFLAG’s presence and messages, and we all became more comfortable. As everyone got used to seeing us and eventually realized that our support for same sex civil marriage was simple, our friends and families came to enjoy “hanging out” at our table.
Being gay in Kent County is now more like being “whatever” in Kent County. Even here on the Eastern Shore, where change is often resisted, we have found quiet tolerance and acceptance of changing attitudes about sexual identity.
Now that Question 6 has been approved, PFLAG Chestertown will continue to advocate publicly for our gay and lesbian family members and friends in other ways. Our next effort will be to offer support and education to individuals and schools, whenever they reach out to us. We realize that there individuals of all ages, stages and situations who are struggling to find their place in this complex and quickly changing world, and we can offer many types of help for them.
To everyone in our wonderful community, we welcome your openness and your support, as well as your requests for help.