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January 13, 2011

Gay marriage bill to be introduced by legislative leaders

The majority leaders in both the House and Senate will introduce gay marriage legislation this year, yet another sign that the contentious issue will be a marquee bill this session.

Sen. Rob Garagiola, a Democrat from Montgomery County, will put his name on the Senate version of the bill along with Sen. Rich Madaleno, an openly gay lawmaker who has introduced the measure in the past.

Majority leader Garagiola said that the bill, which would permit same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses, is "something that I think we need to do." He said there's "a lot" of support among his colleagues for a bill. "Two people loving each other, that is not going to change," he said. "I look at this as a civil rights issue."

He said that he'll likely introduce the measure next week.

The House version will be introduced by Majority Leader Kumar Barve, a Democrat from Montgomery County, and Baltimore's Del. Keiffer Mitchell, an African-American who hails from a storied civil rights family.

Mitchell, a freshman in the body, is linking his sponsorship of the legislation to his family's history. On twitter he wrote: "In 1967, my uncle passed the legislation lifting the ban on interracial marriages in Maryland. Today I carry on that legacy."

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller opposes gay unions, civil or otherwise, but says he'll cast a vote to cut off a filibuster in the Senate, a procedural hurdle that requires more votes than final passage. He predicted Wednesday that the measure would come up early in the session and guessed that conservatives and African-Americans in the body will oppose it.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 10:33 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: 2011 legislative session


If Maryland is half as unapologetically progressive and Freedom hating as my Dad continually insists, this will pass both houses without delay and will be the law of the state by summer.

And yet, isn't it obvious that that won't happen?

It's ironic, if not sad, that the Senate President, a Democrat, in a demonstrably blue state is further to the right than the Senate Minority Leader, a Republican.

We stand a very good chance at success this year. Socially we have reached the tipping point. It is no longer politically dangerous to support marriage equality. We can expect conservatives to push for a referendum after it passes but the likelihood that they will succeed in getting the signatures needed is pretty slim.

Still, we need to be vigilant, while Marylanders aren't motivated to oppose equality outside forces could interfere as they did in California.

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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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