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Registered: 08-03-2005 Location: Santa Monica, CA.
posted on 03-05-2010 at 22:13
Maryland House Bill 65
Should men living in the United States have the right to communicate with women outside of the country? Maryland House Bill 65 (Senate Bill 129), possibly being put into action in 2010, would make it illegal for men in Maryland to use international introduction agencies without first providing an entire criminal background check.
House Bill 65, supported by Maryland Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio and an extensive list of other female delegates from Maryland, looks to fix “loopholes” they believe exist in the 2005 federal law regarding “international marriage brokers.”
An explanation of the bill, found within the Fiscal and Policy note, states that a client of any international introduction agency in Maryland will be responsible to provide that agency with a criminal background check, past marital information, and information on other attempts they might have made to sponsor an international spouse. This means that international introduction services doing business in Maryland will be required to spend their time and money requesting, translating, and sending out criminal records and other documentation, just so men in Maryland can say hello to women in other countries. Not only would this law limit the rights of men in Maryland, but it would put their security at risk if their Social Security numbers are accessed for these background checks.
Many of the dating services based in the United States fear having to move their businesses outside of the country to avoid the possible Maryland laws. Other agencies simply do not have the resources to deal with this new law and will go out of business if they attempt to redesign their web site structures to comply with it.
The bill uses negative, false suggestions about the international introductions industry as a form of persuasion. Even the term “Marriage Broker,” included in the title of the bill, implies that these companies are attempting to “sell” a marriage or a person. That is far from the truth. In reality, these agencies are simply providing services that allow men to correspond and interact with women from other countries with the overall goal of finding long-term relationships and/or marriage.
The bill has been a hot topic for many recent blogs and forums. One post regarding House Bill 65 reads, “It declares all who want to communicate with foreigners for meeting, dating, or a possible relationship guilty until proven innocent.” This is a very valid point. Why should men who want to meet women from other countries be treated differently than men who want to meet women in the United States? This bill perpetuates the false stereotype that men who use international introduction services to meet women are somehow more dangerous than men who go to bars and parties to meet women.
House Bill 65 is based on idealistic, feminist theories about dated, isolated occurrences instead of unbiased research and ongoing investigations. The references used to explain the need for this 2010 bill are from incidences and research done before 2000. Research proving the international introductions industry is a legitimate way for singles around the world to connect is completely missing from the bill, replaced by references to isolated stories of domestic violence that so happen to involve international couples who met through introduction services. Much of the reasoning behind the pressure being put on the international introductions industry is rooted in exaggerated headlines and news accounts that use assumptions and stigmas to grab viewers’ attention.
Maryland House Bill 65, along with Senate Bill 129, is being presented as a way to secure the safety and well-being of women, but the real damage seems to be done when a man is criminalized for wanting to innocently introduce himself to a woman. This not only puts an imposition on both the men and women wishing to correspond, but on the companies who are attempting to help them do so. Lisa Anne Simmons, in her well-researched dissertation entitled “Marriage, Migrations, and Markets: International Matchmaking and International Feminism,” wrote, “My data offer preliminary evidence that the international matchmaking industry can be seen as a positive force in the context of shifting gender relations within and between the countries involved.” Not only does her independent research suggest that the stigmas and assumptions about the international introductions industry are unfounded, but it suggests that the industry can improve international gender relations/
This bill is not without opposition. Delegate Mike Smigiel has presented House Joint Resolution 2, “Maryland Sovereignty under the 10th Amendment.” However, the problem will require the support and activism of the men and women who will be affected by this law. The people deciding to present and put this law into affect will not feel the repercussions of it, so it is up to the industry and the people involved in it to stand up for their rights as United States citizens.
The Senate Finance Committee has still not acted on HB 65 which is necessary to move this legislation forward.
So there may still be some time and thoughtful, articulate, polite letters or phone calls to the members of the Senate Finance Committee might make a difference.
CALL - WRITE - CALL - WRITE - CALL -WRITE - CALL
· THOMAS McLAIN (MAC) MIDDLETON - Democrat, District 28, Charles County
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3616
· JOHN ASTLE. - Democrat, District 30, Anne Arundel County
e-mail: email@example.com phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3578
· GEORGE W. DELLA, JR. - Democrat, District 46, Baltimore City
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3600
· NATHANIEL EXUM - Democrat, District 24, Prince George's County
e-mail: email@example.com phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3148
· ROBERT J. GARAGIOLA - Democrat, District 15, Montgomery County
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3169
· BARRY GLASSMAN - Republican, District 35, Harford County
e-mail: email@example.com phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3603
· DELORES GOODWIN KELLEY - Democrat, District 10, Baltimore County
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3606
· ALLAN H. KITTLEMAN - Republican, District 9, Carroll & Howard Counties
e-mail: email@example.com phone: (410) 841-3671, (301) 858-3671
· KATHERINE A. KLAUSMEIER - Democrat, District 8, Baltimore County
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3620
· E. J. PIPKIN - Republican, District 36, Caroline, Cecil, Kent & Queen Anne's Counties
e-mail: email@example.com phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3639
· CATHERINE E. PUGH - Democrat, District 40, Baltimore City
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3656
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