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January 28, 2011

February: Same-sex marriage month

The legislative debate over same-sex marriage will get going in the Maryland Senate on Feb. 8.

That's the date Senate Judicial Proceedings Chairman Brian Frosh has set for a hearing on the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, a bill that would allow Maryland to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. The hearing is set for 1 p.m., and will wrap in all other bills "relating to same-sex marriage and civil unions," according to the schedule.

Additional bills could include the civil unions bill that Sen. Allan Kittleman, a Howard County Republican, says he'll introduce.

A review by The Baltimore Sun indicates that the bill allowing full gay marriage rights has the support of exactly enough senators and a bare majority of delegates on the Senate Judicial Proceedings and House Judiciary panels to proceed to floor votes.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario, Jr., has said that he'll wait and see if the Senate passes the bill before he takes it up in his committee.

Eighteen of the state's 47 senators have co-sponsored the Senate bill. The House companion has 58 of 141 delegates. Lawmakers pushing the issue in both chambers are counting votes and sound confident they can secure final passage.

But opponents, including the Maryland Catholic Conference and the National Organization for Marriage, disagree and say the votes are not there on the floor. NOM, however, pledged to take the issue to the voters if it becomes law. If that happened, same-sex marriage could land on the 2012 ballot.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 3:03 PM | | Comments (26)
Categories: 2011 legislative session


I can't wait to see what the BIGOTS have to say about this... Why am I a second class citizen?


Cool. It's time for full marriage equality rights now.

Cheers, Joe Mustich, Officiant,
Red Studio Farm, Washington, CT USA

Kudos to CT for supporting SSM since 2008.

I don't think opponents will be able to launch a successful referendum for 2012. They will certainly try though and since Maryland can change its political direction overnight we'll have to stay strong.

Staying strong will require that the the lobbyists that promoted this bill heal the rift they have created with transgender community. They promoted an anti-discrimination bill that lacks substance. It was strategically foolish to alienate that part of the LGBT community that was responsible for the gay rights movement in the first place.

There's neither factual nor logical reasons for the government to recognize same-sex behavior through marriage or other means. Rather, the appropriate response is for the government to remain neutral on same-sex behavior and allow it among consenting adults, only.

The reason is that homosexual behavior is fraught with serious medical, social, and psychological maladies as the science and the supporting references prove (1). Should this behavior be banned, or should it's practitioners be persecuted? Absolutely not! They deserve their individual rights and liberties, like everyone else does. Rather, because it's unhealthy, same-sex behavior should be legally categorized the same as other problematic behaviors, such as smoking, gambling, and drinking, and left to consenting adults without government recognition or encouragement.

Monogomous heterosexual marriage, on the other hand, is healthy for both parties and for society and should, therefore, be encouraged through marriage that's recognized and encouraged by the government.

To keep marriage this way, please email this post and the link to the essay (below) to as many people as you can, including your state legislators. In turn, please ask the recipients to do the same. Then, please call your legislators and demand that they vote against government recognition for same-sex behavior and vote against them in the next election, if they don't. In this way, we can all work together to keep marriage as it should be, which is between one man and one woman!

(1) - "The Case for Government Recognition of Traditional Relationships," an essay on Yahoo Pulse summarizing the science and the references for opposing same-sex marriage and other forms of government recognition of same-sex behavior:

Please do put it on the ballot. Put it on the ballot in DC too. Heck, go and put it on the Massachusetts ballot if you want to. It'll just hasten the day we start beating you at that too. Then what will you do?


Please return to your little hateful bigot hole. You are the unhealthy one, mentally.

Homosexuality is not a sin according to the Bible. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, prostitution, and rape, not homosexuality.

(Change *** to www)

shadowman is not only wrong but deliberately misleading, as well. He is so because the Bible is very clear in describing homosexual behavior as a sin. It says so in Leviticus and in Romans at a minimum.

In Romans, there is a reference to idolatry. However, with respect to idolatry, homosexual behavior is one of the outcomes of turning to idolatry and away from God. In other words, homosexual behavior is sinful in and of itself regardless of whether it occurs as a result of idol worshipping or not.

For if this wasn't the case, then the Bible would allow homosexual behavior under certain circumstances, like it does for heterosexual behavior. For the latter, it's permitted in marriage between a man and a woman. For the former (homosexual behavior), it's not permissable under any circumstance otherwise it would be allowed in marriage or under some other Biblical instruction. Because no such instruction exists, homosexual behavior , in and of itself, remains a sin.

Whoever the idiot is that decided to use the phrase "religious freedom" is who gets the blame when this effort fails.

It's like these people can't be happy unless they can also poke a stick in the eye of the religious nutters even if it means that the CIVIL RIGHTS issues don't get resolved.

I don't have a dog in this fight but what sympathy I have for the underlying intention quickly gets covered over in the guffaws.

Mr. Rational,

The reason it mentions religious freedom is because it explicitly says that any religion will not be forced to marry anyone that it does not want to marry. The title is germane.

Its about time. We do need to remember that MD was a southern state kept in the union by force of arms. And is still in some areas infested by the KKK, which always needs someone to hate. The KKK - almost all right wing "anything but" christians.

As for the catholic bishops, about 60% of catholics support gay marriage, and catholcis are leaving the church in droves, or joining catholic groups that adhere to Jesus commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself.

And for the republican - party of lincoln opponents of recognizing the love and committment that really are the basis of marriage, Lincoln must be turning over in his grave.

NOM btw was started by Maggie Gallagher, who had two undwed pregnancies as a statement of her moral values.

Brian Brown I hear is a methodist . Little does he know that he can wed his boyfriend at Foundry UMC church in DC

the world is changing, the only problem is the stuck in the mud Crhistian rightists, who for some reason or another always need to punch their own ticket to hell, by demonizing gay people, black people or Jews or other minorities.

Its time for all the good people in MD who believe in Jesus commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself to stand up and be counted for treating our gay friends, coworkers and neighbors as equal in our society.

They deserve every "freedom" str8 people get in this society. the freedoms thaat the republican party is always talking about, or is it the freedom to choose who to hate and demonize.

And lets not quote the bible- it was the bible that justified slavery and segregation. another bible that justified 9-11. And the old Jewish bible that provided for death for women not a virgin on their wedding day and all kinds of other worse then medieval punishments.

Which apply almost certainly to all the objectors, who conveniently ignore and just cherry pick to drive their evil ideas in the name of god. As if they think that Love is spelled H A T E.

@unrest: So what if it explicitly said the opposite? Would it make that enforceable? Are churches bound to perform wedding ceremonies because a couple has a paper from the county?

Nope. This proposed law is more about asserting a right to the semantic interpretation than the real goal. The word used on that paper matters how?

All that insisting on these references to anything other than broadening the civil process of who is allowed to hand over the small fee to the clerk in the Court House and receive a license... is doubly waste the short sighted efforts and antagonize the one group in opposition to you.

Engage them? On their own turf?
Ignore them and their pettiness.

If ya'll would kiss and make up up maybe you could forge some lasting friendships. Heck, maybe even get married. All this bickering is silly.

Marriage equality has won, get over it.

Jeff asks "Why am I a second class citizen?"

Because you think that those who disgree with you are bigots and not entitled to their opinions! That why!

Mr. Rational,

One of the claims the Catholic Conference and other religious groups use against marriage equality is that religious organizations will be forced to perform same sex marriages or face lawsuits. I have worked for legislators and I have read too many of the form emails that the religious groups get their followers to mail in. The wording seeks to head off such ridiculous claims.

Just sayn:

Why should someone be allowed to have an opinion about someone's civil rights without facing severe criticism of such an opinion? It's that opinion and not the criticism of the opinion that has made people 2nd class citizens. Your comment is ridiculous. You are entitled to your opinion, but I am entitled to think you are a bigot for thinking the way you do.

I get it.

I'm saying that patronizing them and their absurd fears is a tactical error and NOT the wise move you prefer to see it as. Because all it does is give them an unearned gravitas which they and the other scripture quoting extremists leverage they then use against you in the balance of the political dispute... the only part of the debate that matters.

You give too much away.
You aren't helping yourself.
At all

unrest seems to be irrational and insane.
Jeff called EVERYONE who disagrees with him BIGOTS! EVERYONE!

"I can't wait to see what the BIGOTS have to say about this"

To make such a blanket statement of so many people is no different than saying all Irish people are drunks or all black people eat fried chicken or that all gay people are freaks of nature.

Take your pick. For someone like yourself looking for support and understanding in getting what you want, you insult the same people your asking support from.

How fricking ignorant and BIGOTED can YOU be?

Get a life heterophobe.

Just sayn:

Ha. Your comment made me laugh. Heterophobe? What, am I afraid of myself?

And it's not disagreeing w/me that makes you a bigot. It's believing that a whole group of of people are somehow less than you and not deserving of civil rights that make you a bigot.

My letter in support of same sex marriage: >>>

As we reflect back upon history, one thing remains clear regardless of one’s religious affiliation or no affiliation: More people have died in the name of God than any other way throughout history.

Indeed, for hundreds of years, religious elites and common people have used their own religious interpretation (and passed down interpretation) to oppress based on gender, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity. We have come to know of the atrocities that were all tied to religion such as the Holocaust, African-American enslavement, and the persecution of Jews.

In his book, “Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness,” James A. Haught chronicles a thousand years of religious hate ranging from the witch hunts, to the numerous crusades, to the Holy Inquisition, to the religious anti-Semitic influence that later fueled the Holocaust. Haught says, “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of the coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.”

Furthermore, theologian Richard Rubenstein wrote that the Nazis “did not invent a new villain…they took over the 2,000-year-old Christian tradition of the Jew as a villain. The roots of the death camps must be sought in the mythic structure of Christianity.”

Throughout history numerous religious leaders and common people have pointed to specific passages in the Bible that have been used to validate slavery. One insightful book, “Noah’s Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery,” by Stephen R. Haynes, further shows how just “one” biblical passage fueled anti-African-American sentiment over the course of hundreds of years.

The biblical passage, “A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren,” reads Noah’s curse on Ham. Ham is later identified as the ancestor of black Africans, and this particular biblical passage is just one that has been used historically to justify African-American slavery. Also many Christian clergymen throughout history were pro-slavery. Historian Larry Hise says in his book, “Pro Slavery,” that ministers “wrote almost half of all defenses of slavery published in America.” He also lists more than 250 religious men who used the Bible to prove white people were entitled to own black people.

Similarly, Hitler and other anti-Semitic leaders throughout history have used biblical passages to validate the persecution of Jews. Here is just one passage that fueled anti-Semitism: “You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II issued a historical pardon at St. Peter’s Basilica regarding the Catholic Church’s prime role in the persecution of Jews for the past 1,000 years. In addition, they also released a document that named (and officially validated) other multiple “sins” on their part including the Holocaust, Inquisition, Crusades and other religious acts.

Not surprisingly, comparable negative sentiment that existed hundreds of years ago against African-Americans and Jews, continues on even today for non heterosexuals. True, much progress has been made, but even today, when discussing bisexuality or homosexuality, some people are quick to (just as in history) point to biblical passages that condemn anyone who is not heterosexual.

A couple of years ago, we witnessed a progressive change in history as gay and bisexual men and women married in California before Proposition 8 was passed. With the right time to pass, it will not be long when equal marriage rights under the law will be given to non-heterosexuals; similar to the way the bans on interracial marriage were outlawed and ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court despite 72% of the majority of Americans in favor of interracial marriage bans at the time.

Still, some do not consider gay rights a “civil rights” issue. However, Coretta Scott King, wife of the late Martin Luther King Jr., disagrees with them. In 1998, on the 30th anniversary of her husband’s assassination she commented: “I still hear people say that I should… stick to the issue of racial justice, but I hasten to remind them Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ ” I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother-and-sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”

Clearly, religion has also been used against women throughout history. One such biblical passage has been used to prohibit women from being ministers: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak.” (I Corinthians I 4:34). This helped fuel misogynistic beliefs at the time, viewing women as merely second-class citizens.

Yes, it is true more people have died in the name of God throughout our history than any other way. So it behooves us today to not forget our history, for we may be doomed to repeat it. As we have seen through hundreds of years, indeed it has been repeated. I know I will never identify myself as a Catholic or with any other religion that is not in line with my life-changing (progressive) and liberal beliefs. However, I do believe in God very much and always will; there is a higher Creator, and I believe that our higher Creator would want us to most definitely learn from our horrid history, so that we will never repeat it again. The time is now for us to continue to fight for civil rights in all aspects. The work is never done!

Just sayn,

We are not looking for your support, so get over yourself. We are looking for the support of the government.

Although I do not agree with same sex "marriage", there is a way for them to get the same benefits that unmarried hetrosexual couples do and that would be through the legal system. Anyone can buy a house or own a vehicle together (with right of survivorship), open a bank account (with right of survivorship), give permission for access to health records and visitation while in the hospital to another person and to draw up a will together. The only reason same sex couples want to "marry" is to legitimize their "lifestyle" so that the rest of us will think it's normal . I know a few same sex couples that already do these things and don't feel the need to "marry". They have all the security they need, probably more than some unmarried hetrosexual couples. All same sex couples need to do is think "outside the box" (which they already do) and they can resolve all of their main issues without upsetting the world by demanding the right to marry. Regarding what the Bible says, it tells us humans to "go and procreate in order to increase the population of this world". Although some hetrosexual couples go the "surrogate" route for whatever reason, same sex couples "only" have that option as they can't procreate on their own. Religion and homosexuality are fine for those who believe but please don't foist your beliefs on me and expect me to accept them as "gospel". I'm am entitled to my opinions and just because they don't agree with yours doesn't mean I'm wrong. Remember, as an American I am free to think and feel what I want but not the right to demand that you feel the same way. To the poster who feels like a "second class citizen" remember that everyone in this world is special, so ignore what others say, believe in yourself and that "feeling" will go away.

Religion and homosexuality are fine for those who believe but please don't foist your beliefs on me and expect me to accept them as "gospel". ---MDTransplant

And I in turn ask you not to foist your beliefs on me and require that I give up rights precious to me to assuage your belief system. You, like I, do not have to accept another's beliefs; you do have to allow them though.

To Anonymous 2-2-2011:
Boy, did you pick out the most obscure point in my comments to base your response upon. If you had continued to read further, I admitted that I didn't have the right to foist my opinions on anyone else. The main complaint of same sex couples is they feel that "marriage" is the only way to get "equality" in this society. I just pointed out that they could get equality by doing it legally through systems already in place. I could really care less about the religious aspect of it, as long as you love and support the person you are with, a state marriage license is a moot point. I realize there are other issues I have not addressed but I believe that most of them can be addressed by the legal systems we have today. What upsets me the most is that some gay or lesbian groups are "foisting" their lifestyle choices on society because they want us all to believe it's normal. In California, they make school districts teach that homosexuality is "OK and normal" and that it's fine to have two Moms or two Dads. Since my tax dollars (California is broke and is borrowing money from the Federal Govt) are paying to educate these children, I believe they should be teaching them reading, writing and life skills instead of "social" issues. That standard applies to all social issues. Educated children will learn to form their own opinions about how they feel about hetrosexual or homosexuality, not by forcing them to believe it. As stated in my earlier post, I have same sex couples as friends. They don't wave their sexuality around like a banner, most are emotionally and financially secure and I don't have an issue with it. I might not agree with their behavior but they are human beings and deserve respect. I have little respect for people who are bigoted against me for how I feel about this issue. If you choose this lifestyle, don't force me to like or accept it if I don't but that doesn't mean that I can't respect you as a person.

Obama said he was a Christian today!! And he does not believe in homosexual marriage!!!! THAT BIGOTED homophobe!

Bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

If you do not tolerate my life as a whole, including my sexuality, then you in fact are a bigot. If you do not believe I deserve the same rights as a heterosexual, then you are a bigot. Yes, I'm calling you a bigot.

I know I will not win over bigots and gain support. I don't need it. I don't want it . Your ideas will die with you and new generations will replace the errors of past generations' ideas and BIGOTRY.

Your religion, your god, your whatever should not have any effect on me. Because you insist on believing antiquated things should not have affect my life or anyone else's. And that goes for any facet of life, as long as I am not negatively affecting others.

To Anonymous: Yes, if Obama did in fact say that then yes, he is a bigoted homophobe. Plain and simple. Why the OMG? If he does mean what he said then he is a bigoted homophobe. Hopefully one day presidents and the like can actually state their real opinions. There has had to be presidents that held views in private that would starve them of "red votes" if they were public with their opinion. President Obama is no different.


The issue is politics NOT justice.

Your ideas will die with you and new generations will replace the errors of past generations' ideas and BIGOTRY. -Jeff

The question Jeff... is whether you'll accept having that march of time happen with gays having the same fundamental rights or whether the gay political arm will insist that the word used to describe those rights is more important.

Your choices come down to either some of the agenda now and the rest later -OR- nothing now and who knows what later. Your call.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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