Lawmakers Wrong to Regulate Internet Communication
By: Guest Authors
By: Dave Root
How far out of touch with reality are Maryland legislators anyways? Thatâ€™s exactly the question being asked by citizens (women and men) regarding a proposed bill in the Maryland General Assembly, that would restrict menâ€™s rights to use dating sites to meet foreign women, and will likely spur copycat legislation in other states.
Three dozen Maryland House delegates are currently campaigning for support of HB 65,a state law that would unfairly label Maryland/American men as criminals, who would have to submit their fingerprints and other background information first, before they can initiate communication with a foreign woman if they use an â€œInternational Marriage Brokerâ€.
Lets get to the truth of the matter from the beginning. Nobody is being traded or sold as the title, â€œRegulation of Marriage Brokersâ€, deceptively implies. The truth reveals these are merely for- profit companies that provide names, addresses and phone numbers so that a Maryland citizen can initiate communication (as in saying â€œhelloâ€).
The drama that has unfolded since the controversial bill was introduced reads like a war script. The attack was announced on January 4, 2010, in a AP news release , â€œMD lawmakers push for restrictions on mail order bridesâ€.
â€œ The battle for Maryland, round 2â€ has begun, stated â€œBronxmanâ€ who posted his comments along with a chilling image of a fingerprint on the website â€œOnlineDatingRightsâ€, a group opposed to the law.
It wasn’t long before the controversial law caught the attention of WBAL (Baltimore) Radioâ€™s popular talk show host, Shari Elliker who asked a sponsor, Delegate Jeannie Haddaway- Riccio to be on her program, January 6. After citing a few cases of women abuse to drum up support for the law, a caller quickly repudiated her startling claims by stating, “you have provided anecdotal evidence that this or that is happening and I don’t believe anybody is purchasing a human being”.The host repeatedly criticized the bill, stating the government should not be regulating dating and communication.
The Md law is patterned after the federal International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005, a similar, but less obtrusive law. The promoters of both the federal and state laws, mostly liberal democrats, have made sensational claims that American men who date foreign women are rapists, wife beaters, â€œmany are premeditated torturersâ€, even though a 1999 INS study shows the abuse rate in International marriages is one seventh the abuse rate in domestic marriages.
Promoters also have suggested that American men are purchasing foreign brides through the Internet, another hoax.
So what exactly is the mindset of MD women legislators who are going after fictitious â€œmarriage brokersâ€ surreptitiously masking the reality of a law that regulates menâ€™s communication, and could land them in jail for a year – just for writing a love letter?
Assumning the Maryland law passes legislative muster, the next logical step in this alarming legal blocade of our constitutional right of free association, would be for other liberal minded legislators to enact similar laws in other states.
In the meantime, please inform our various state legislators that writing a letter, including a romance letter, is a legitimate activity and the government has no right to enact laws that place restrictions on relationships and communication occurring across international boundaries.