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February 9, 2011

Brochin reconsidering stand on same-sex marriage

Baltimore County Sen. James Brochin found the testimony Tuesday by opponents of gay marriage "troubling," and said this morning that he may support the bill. The Baltimore County Democrat had previously said he was against same-sex marriage.

"The demonization of gay families really bothered me," Brochin said. "Are these families going to continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens?"

The change adds Brochin to a group of six other senators who have either not decided how they are going to vote or declined to declare their intentions publicly, according to a Sun review. (See list of Senators' positions after the jump.) Twenty senators have said they will support the bill; 24 votes are needed for passage.

Brochin said he would prefer to see Maryland approve civil unions and plans to offer the alternative as an amendment in committee. He acknowledged that he does not have the votes.

The senators on the Judicial Proceedings Committee Tuesday listened to over seven hours of testimony from supporters and opponents of gay marriage.

Because of a reshuffling of committee membership this year, gay marriage supporters for the first time have the votes to bring the issue to the Senate floor.

Proponents in the House of Delegates believe the can find support there for the measure, and Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he will sign a bill if it passes.

The issue has ruffled feathers in the Republican caucus. The House GOP recently put out a position against the bill as did the senate. But Sen. Allan Kittleman relinquished his position as Senate Minority Leader last month after saying he would introduce a civil unions bill. He since decided to support same-sex marriage.

Question: Do you intend to vote for or against the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act?

Sen. Bill Ferguson, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Jennie Forehand, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Brian Frosh, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Rob Garagiola, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Lisa Gladden, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Verna Jones, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Delores Kelley, Baltimore County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Nancy King, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, Howard County Republican
Sen. Richard Madaleno, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Roger Manno, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Nathaniel McFadden, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Karen Montgomery, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Paul Pinsky, Prince George's County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Victor Ramirez, Prince George's County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Jamie Raskin, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. James Robey, Howard County Democrat
Sen. Ronald Young, Frederick County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Bobby Zirkin, Baltimore County Democrat (sponsor)

Sen. Joanne Benson, Prince George's County Democrat
Sen. David Brinkley, Carroll and Frederick counties Republican
Sen. James Brochin, Baltimore County Democrat
Sen. Richard Colburn, Eastern Shore Republican
Sen. James DeGrange, Anne Arundel County Democrat
Sen. Roy Dyson, Southern Maryland Democrat
Sen. George Edwards, Western Maryland Republican
Sen. Joseph Getty, Baltimore and Carroll counties Republican
Sen. Barry Glassman, Harford County Republican
Sen. Nancy Jacobs, Harford and Cecil counties Republican
Sen. J.B. Jennings, Baltimore and Harford counties Republican
Sen. James Mathias, Eastern Shore Democrat
Sen. Thomas Middleton, Charles County Democrat
Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller, Prince George's and Calvert counties Democrat
Sen. C. Anthony Muse, Prince George's County Democrat
Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters, Prince George's County Democrat
Sen. E.J. Pipkin, Eastern Shore Republican
Sen. Edward Reilly, Anne Arundel County Republican
Sen. Christopher Shank, Washington County Republican
Sen. Bryan Simonaire, Anne Arundel County Republican
Sen. Norman Stone, Baltimore County Democrat

No public position
Sen. John Astle, Anne Arundel County Democrat
Sen. James Brochin, Baltimore County Democrat
Sen. Joan Carter Conway, Baltimore Democrat
Sen. Ulysses Currie, Prince George's County Democrat
Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, Baltimore and Howard counties Democrat
Sen. Katherine Klausmeier, Baltimore County Democrat
Sen. James Rosapepe, Prince George's County Democrat

Posted by Annie Linskey at 11:19 AM | | Comments (37)
Categories: 2011 legislative session


Thank goodness someone has seen the light. That is what happens when people let their personal prejudices become law.

Wake up Marylanders and intelligent Americans, the Republicans and their Tea party zealots are the party of hate and discrimination. The Republicans folded in the 1960s on racial equality and they are folding again on marriage equality. That they continue to be on the wrong side of history should prove to Americans they do not deserve political power.

This story illustrates a few principles:
* Changing one's mind is often a good thing, based on available information. (Something some politicians forget.)
* As the great sage Hillel said, everyone is capable of redemption.
* Mr. Brochin observed that these weren't some abstract principles being debated, these are real people with real lives and yes, real families who are being affected adversely by current policy.

I might point out to those who oppose same-sex couples enjoying the same basic civil rights as other couples, at this very moment there are married gay and lesbian couples in various states going about their lives just like anyone else, and it's not affecting you or your children one bit.

Why would the Maryland State Legislators invite antigay tyrannical theocRATS to testify about marriage equality? Would they invite the Ku Klux Klan to testify about racial equality or invite the Nazis to testify about Jewish equality?

Too bad Maggie and Brian have such a Nazi-grip on their own NOM blogs. They lack the guts and integrity for news like this to be posted.

"The demonization of gay families really bothered me," Brochin said. "Are these families going to continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens?"

Thank you Mr. Brochin, you get it now... the arguements against marriage equality are all about keeping certain families 2nd class, there is nothing taken away from heterosexual couples and it doesn't affect them in any way... how is separate, equal?

one of the senators who is openly gay (not that there's anything wrong with that) is quoted in b (a paper published by The Sun, i believe) that using the term "partner" cheapens a relationship. really? as a man married to a woman for 20 years, i am offended. i call her my partner all the time, because that's what we are.


"But Sen. Allan Kittleman lost relinquished his position . . ."

Might want to take that "lost" out.

I'm with you Eli!

You know who's behind this, don't you? The Muslims and the feminists and democrats ...and probably the Amish.

They won't be happy until we're all butt loving, tree hugging, man hating terrorists ...who make a respectable potato salad.

Everyone knows that giving people more freedoms is ALWAYS, ALWAYS the first step to either a communist dictatorship or modern day Sodom or Gomorrah.

I'm with you Eli!

When you listen to the hearing testimony, as I did, it was impossible not to come away with the opponents arguments being either "It's against my religion" or "Gays will ruin society." Anyone with any intellect (apparently Brochin) could see that the opponents' arguments were non-sensical and just not there. I actually was surprised and thought they'd put on a better "case" then just bringing in that troll from NOW (not a MD entity) and a parade of religious people.

@ Mark : you talk about what God created and what God wants for our sex lives and such. Problem is you are in America, where your God is INSIGNIFICANT.


This is America - please read the Constitution. And while you're at it, read the bible - and find out how it is the same level of offense ("abomination") to eat a crab cake or wear a cotton/poly blend t-shirt as it is to be gay. See you in hell, buddy!

Did 100% of those giving testimony opposing the bill not realize that we are not a Theocracy?

Jim, those comments flowed both ways yesterday. Instead of sheepishly trying to find a way to please everyone to satisfy your political quandry, why don't you just show a little conviction and say what you believe?

Proponents called opponents hateful and biggoted people who hated life. Opponents said the same in reverse.

Trying to spin your way out of this won't work.

How did Eli's comments get past the approval process? That type of tirade would never be allowed for any other group of citizens of this country.

Also, I am very disappointed to see my state senator, Douglas J.J. Peters in the "against" column. I voted for Mr. Peters but if his position does not change, that will be the last vote he gets from me.

In response to Mark's little tirade above:


If we are to stay out of people's bedrooms and out of their sex lives, don't you think it would be more equitable to just let any two people who want to to get married and not dwell on what they do in the privacy of their own home? No one's forcing you or anyone else to recognize anything. Chances are, when gay couples start getting married, you won't even notice.

I didn't hear anyone calling anyone a hateful bigot.

Anyway, Joe, Jim Brochin believes in marriage equality, he's just been pushed hard by the powerful Catholic lobby. But I think he had a lightbulb moment yesterday that this shouldn't be about religion.

I am appalled that so many will continue to try to deny a basic civil right to gay citizens based upon uninformed and outdated notions, most of which seem to be based upon misunderstanding of Biblical passages. Loving and committed couples of decades are being denied the protections of the law, yet it apparently is just plain OK for straight couples to marry and divorce willy nilly. I give you today's news of some starlet I've never heard of divorcing some guy from a band I've never heard of:

I listened to much of the testimony online yesterday and the poorly educated, bigoted pastors of many major denominations came off sounding like idiots. What kind of people would even attend churches run by those folks?

Here are the legal qualifications to be marriage:
1. Must be of legal age. (In New Hampshire a 13 year old girl and 14 year old boy can marry with permission of their parent and a waiver.)
2. Must not be too closely related. (Some states allow first cousins to marry.)
3. Must not be currently married.
4. Must be an opposite-sex couple.

That's it! Nothing in there about religion, love, procreation or fidelity. The two people involved don't even have to know each other. Two virtual strangers can show up at the courthouse and get legally married. Neither the state nor the government have a vested interest in their relationship. THAT'S the definition of secular marriage in the United States.

So please explain how a same-sex couple that have been together for decades is less qualified to marry than two teenagers that aren't legally allowed to drive a car or buy alcohol.


Thanks for your comments. Hopefully Jim Brochin will read your nonsense and that will tip him over the edge to ensure he votes for marriage equality.

Keep it coming! :)

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
~The Constitution

When a teacher in my son's suburban Maryland high school civics class queried the students on topical issues, this was the one issue on which there was unanimity; no student in the class thought that marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples only. Maryland is on the precipice of doing the right thing, and it is the future. Defenders of present and past discrimination never see themselves as bigots, no matter how bigoted their remarks. But make no mistake - they represent present and past discrimination.

Have you ever heard an atheist or agnostic state that they are against gay marriage?

Listening to the hearings right now and love how heterosexuals get up there one after the other and say how wonderful and ideal and perfect they are for raising children. You have got to be kidding me. It's comical. Gays will harm children is the oldest fallacy in the book.

Senators Brochin and Klausmeir show why MD must legalize marriage for same sex couples. She was moved by knowing and respecting more and more same sex couples. Many people have had the same experience. He was moved by the ignorance and hatred shown by opponents to same sex marriage. Prohibiting same sex couples marrying is clearly unconstitutional discrimination. Either the legislature will affirmatively permit it, or the state (and ultimately US) Supreme Court will have to recognize it. Prohibiting same sex couples from marrying is worse than Jim Crows laws against cross race marriages (found unconstitutional in Loving v. Virgina). At least African Americans were permitted to marry. It is more like the prohibitions to marrying at all under slavery. Homosexuals cannot not marry at all under current law. Obviously that is wrong and needs to change. The proposed law honors the First Amendment by ending religion based state discrimination against homosexuals while preserving individual religions' right to discriminate if they wish.

Here is the definition of marriage 'equality' for those who can't or just plain don't want to comprehend its' meaning.....

One MAN + one WOMAN = sexual EQUALITY ie a REAL marriage and REAL love.

Now this is very easy to comprehend, even for those with a 1/2 brain.

I don't really give a darn what goes on in the bedroom. This is a NOT an issue or even a concern for Maryland's elected to waste time and tax dollars on. Only to those who just plain can't accept normal male-female or visa-versa relationships have to make this a political issue.

Mark: So gay couples can't really love each other?

Last year Brochin said that he was always opposed same sex marriage . In 2008 Equality Maryland called Brochin as a “must-win” candidate. In 2006 they were listing him as an anti-gay senator.

Back and forth they go, they don’t know who their friends are from day to day.

I find having a relationship with Equality Maryland a lot like dating a fickle diva.

“How do I look?” she asks.

Being a devoted lover I want her to look her best before she goes on stage. So I tell her the truth.

“The fundraiser at the sex toy shop on Feb 4 makes you look like the stereotype their pastor warned them about. And your lily white staff

in a city that’s 64% African American makes you look like something other than the “Civil Rights Organization” that you proclaim at the top of each page of your website.”

“That’s not what I meant,” she pouts. “I was asking about my little red dress!”

So I get the cold shouder and I think she might have a headache tonight.

I’m not the jealous type so it didn’t really bother me that last week she was fawning all over Alan Kittleman like a pre-adolescent girl meeting Justin Bieber in his dressing room. This week she’s back in bed with a Democrat.

Maybe it’s the journalistic voyeurism I inherited from Richard Harding-Davis. I like to watch.

I must wonder though if her flirtation with Mr. Brochin was just a shell game. I can’t imagine that a man who has been in the Senate since 2002 and has voted consistently in favor of gay rights just realized yesterday that gay folk were being “demonized.” Sounds like a set up to me.

That little sweet pea Brochin was under the walnut all along.

Mark said, 'Now this is very easy to comprehend, even for those with a 1/2 brain.'

So....that's how you're comprehending it so easily?

Farther up you said that we were guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet you're advocating the denial of those very things for gays and lesbians. Can't really have it both ways.


The Bible says nothing about sexual equality in a marriage. In fact, it says the opposite. Why do you hate God so much?

Well Mark get ready to lose.. in 3...2....1....It's inevitable. and the best part is you don't have to give up your tab A insert slot B marriage. In fact you'll have the same exact marriage the day after.

Eli: person prejudices works both sides of the political spectrum - left and right. This is why this issue is PERSONAL and should not be debated at public expense.


Joe Smith - no Joe God is only insignificant to YOU, sad to say.

And America is a REPUBLIC founded on RELIGIOUS VALUES and MORALITY.

I will see you in hell if God sends me there.

Michael Adrian - ever heard the slogan - what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas? Now apply the slogan to the bedroom. How did the state house chambers become the public bedroom?

David in Houston; same-sex gays don't qualify under the NH law. Re-read point 4 for qualification.

Tyler: re-read my comment and you will find your answer.

Will Parkinson: gays are NOT equal in the sexual term. They are the SAME. However, to appease I will say gays are people and sinners like the rest of us so if they want equality, they are - as sinners.

cmh; What sex is the wife, what sex is the husband?

I wish the zealots who want to supress Americans' civil rights on this issue would take a breath and remember that gays and lesbians make up about 3% of the population...if that? An even smaller percentage within that group will decide to marry. It's really NOT that big a change to the national landscape as we know it now...and the last time I was in Boston (where they honor same sex marriage) it still looked like Boston to me. Arch Conservatives would benefit from moving on, and tackling a REAL issue that effects their lives in some substantial way.

Did you know convicted pedophiles, rapists and murderers have the right to marry but taxpaying law abiding hard working gay citizens do not? How does THAT make sense?!

David in Houstaon wrote:
"Here are the legal qualifications to be marriage [I presume you meant 'married'?]:

4. Must be an opposite-sex couple."

Except same-sex couples can marry in Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. The Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon also grants same-sex marriage.

If same-sex marriage is allowed in the above jurisdictions, then your point 4 in not correct.

Oh, and the states of New York, New Jersey and Maryland do not (yet) permit same-sex marriage, but recognize same-sex couples married in other states to be married. Similar to the way all states recognize any marriage (of straights) performed in another state.

Mark wrote (in part):
"cmh; What sex is the wife, what sex is the husband?"

Does it matter? Ever hear the phrase 'she wears the pants in the family'?

Does that mean the wife makes the decisions? Controls the finances? Decides where the family vacation will and will not go to this year?

According to YOUR 'definition' of marriage, if the man does not make those decisions, it is not a marriage.

Nancy Jacobs,

How would you like it if business people who don't like Republicans, anti-gays or Christians who serve the general public decided that they are not going to make their cakes, serve their meals or give them accommodaions, etc?
I found your questions as an anti-gay Maryland state legislator about whether this marriage equality and religious freedom bill passed would allow wedding cake makers who serve the general public (but who object to marriage equality) not wanting to make wedding cakes for gay couples be allowed to not do so on religious grounds highly offensive to me much more so than if a place of worship turning me down. Because then we are talking about a business openly saying that is it serving the general public acting this way.
This violates judge not lest ye be judged, do onto others as you would have them do onto you, love thy neighbor as thyself, welcome the stranger...and a whole host of admonishments from within and without the Bible. But if this cake maker wants to refuse my cake, I won't raise a fuss and just leave. But let me tell you if so, the cake-maker's business name and location and what happened would be put into the blogosphere and soon the whole world would instantly know and gay people and their friends and families would soon learn that this is the cake-maker to avoid patronizing if a wedding cake is needed.
You reap what you sow, the rooster coming home to roost, etc so to speak gets eventually realized by this unwelcoming cake maker. Only the local Tea Party extremists, the local gay-haters, the typically pro-business at all cost Republicans or the unknowing will be keeping this cake maker in business after a while.

marriage equality is still the law of the state in NH. same-ex marriage is still the law of that state. Only in your make-believe
fantasy world is that not so.
The far right wingnuts in power in that state decided that their obsession with repealing marriage equality in that state would look very foolish if they didn't try to fix the state's economy mess first.
But if they want tourism dollars in NH, they had better shove their mindless tendencies toward anti-gay discrimination out of sight and away from the public mind.

Most people these days don't want to spend time and money in places where anti-gay discrimination runs rampant.
Something to think about.

Samuel 1:25-26 acknowledges that King David's love for Jonathan "surpassed the love he had for any woman," and neither profit nor Yahweh condemn David. The condemnation of the City of Sodom was not because of any sex (where Lot offered to turn his daughters over to the people, but in the end committed incest with them and got them both pregnant (Genesis 19:33ff) but because of "pride, abundance...unwilling to help the poor" (Ezekiel 16:49). Jesus never married nor even had a girl friend anywhere in the New Testament, yet he let John the Beloved sleep on his chest. Where in the bible is there any condemnation of homosexuality (the word does not even exist in the ancient Hebrew)?

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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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