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February 16, 2011

Currie will vote no on same-sex marriage

Prince George's County Sen. Ulysses Currie said today he will not support the same-sex marriage bill, a decision that winnows the group of undecided senators to three.

"It has as much to do with my past ... growing up with the church in the south," said Currie this afternoon. "It is just my background. Where I grew up."

Currie, 73, is from North Carolina. "The church was the only thing we had," he said.

In recent days there's been a focus on the handful of senators who have not decided how they will vote on the bill. Final passage in the senate requires 24 votes. Twenty-three senators are either sponsors of the bill or have said publicly that they support the measure. (See senators' positions on the bill after the jump.)

One of the three remaining wavering senators, Baltimore's Sen. Joan Carter Conway, has said she will not support the bill if it fails, but will "pray really hard" for guidance if she is the 24th voter. That's led some advocates to believe she will support the bill if her vote is needed.

The bill is expected to be voted out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Thursday and could be on the senate floor as early as next week.
Question: Do you intend to vote for or against the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act?


Sen. James Brochin, Baltimore County Democrat
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. Edward Kasemeyer, Baltimore and Howard counties Democrat
Sen. Delores Kelley, Baltimore County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Nancy King, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, Howard County Republican
Sen. Katherine Klausmeier, Baltimore County Democrat
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. Ulysses Currie, Prince George's County Democrat
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/Undecided
Sen. John Astle, Anne Arundel County Democrat
Sen. James Brochin, Baltimore County Democrat (supports)
Sen. Joan Carter Conway, Baltimore Democrat
Sen. Ulysses Currie, Prince George's County Democrat (opposes)
Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, Baltimore and Howard counties Democrat (supports)
Sen. Katherine Klausmeier, Baltimore County Democrat (supports)
Sen. James Rosapepe, Prince George's County Democrat
Posted by Annie Linskey at 2:53 PM | | Comments (31)
Categories: 2011 legislative session


How is it that in this country with the separation of church and state, that the religious beliefs of a few individuals, can dictate the rights of a multitude of people?

Theresa I have wondered that myself for ages. Apparently only Senator Kittleman has gotten it right so far, that we are not a theocracy and he put his personal religious feelings aside for the law.

The laws of this country and most others are in fact derived from religious principal and the natural moral law written on the hearts of men by God at creation. The Ten Commandments themself, are bedrock to the civil laws of man. It's as basic as, "Thou shalt not kill." Those who choose to disconnect from God are able to create contrary law that is purely relative to the pleasure of man, but may not stand the test of eternity.

Let's keep in mind that this is the same Sen. Currie who has been indicted on numerous counts of corruption, including bribery and mail fraud.

Apparently that church of his spent too much time teaching hate and not enough time teaching ethics.

Did they smoke pot at that church too Mr. Currie?

Currie is hardly one to preach morals. Can't wait to see this guy doing hard time.

Currie's justification for his bigotry is ironic. "It has as much to do with my past ... growing up with the church in the south. It is just my background. Where I grew up." That's how a lot of white folks justified their prejudice attitudes toward blacks before the Civil Rights Movement in the '60s. They didn't know enough then to be ashamed of their beliefs, so they said dumb things like that in public. Funny how history has a way of repeating itself.

Likely because it has a lot to do with senators and delegates that have been in Annapolis for a multitude of years. If you want a more accurate view of your opinions in the State House, then you need to choose and vote for candidates that support your ideology. I personally would prefer all the rights afforded to gay couples that traditionally married couples enjoy, but call it civil union. However, I don't think I could vote against this bill just based on the wording. Don't be on the wrong side of history, Maryland.

Someone needs to slip Currie some cash in a paper sack. That would change his vote!

Those old time church teachings sure were quick to go by the wayside when it came to accepting bribes for doing the work of the people. Funny how politicians are quick to invoke religion when they have no other reason for doing what they do.

Ben has it right, what he remembers is his NC church teachings, while blacks were forbidden from marrying whites.

Also, in those teachings there were many prophets that had multiple wives, such as Abraham, so the idea of marriage always having been between 1man & 1woman in judeo-christian tradition is bull.

Even if this doesn't pass this year, it will pass someday. Look at the average age of those opposed, and in Senator Currie's case, his pending legal situation. When some of these folks retire or are convicted their replacements will be much more likely to vote in favor.

Even if not this year, this will pass. And it is the right thing.

Don't want a gay marriage? Don't get one. But don't step on your neighbor's toes about them getting one.

Sad. He got scared and defaulted to (what he implies is his) church's position rather than his elected responsibility as a steward of the law.

It's a good thing that President Johnson
did not say "It has as much to do with my past ... growing up with the church in the south. It is just my background. Where I grew up." President Johnson had the courage and moral conviction to do the right thng by supporting civil rights for all Americans. This bill will make civil rights history and it's a shame that any Democrat would vote against it.

I've apparently been reading the wrong Bible. It seems that according to everyone else's Bible, the only parts that are still in effect are the parts that can be used against the unholy trinity of abortion, homosexuality, and modern science, and everything else was "meant for the church back then" or needs to be "interpreted correctly."

Finally, he does the right thing. Maybe he wont burn after all?

If Sen. Currie is 73 years old, he was born in about 1938. He "grew up" between 1938 and 1959, when he turned 21.
So, he is basing his vote on his church and the way the country was prior to the election of President Kennedy, prior to the civil rights acts, prior to the elimination of the poll tax.
What a remarkably stupid basis for a vote in 2011. I wonder what other votes he casts based on these factors.

I'd like to point out that Senator Klausmeier said she decided to support marriage equality because "it is about fairness." Fairness is a Christian principle. I think we should be grateful for the good people in the Senate.

His personal beliefs with regards to morality would still play a role in his responsibility as a steward of the law in his decision and right to vote against something.

Everything in creation reproduces, it is a natural function and order. If you were to put a thousand men on an island, in 100 to 150 years there would be no more human life on that island. Therefor, if there is no reproduction than it is not natural. If it is not natural, it is not of God

this senator ulysses grrant (lol) probably also was brought up believing inter-racial marriage is a no-no too >:\


His morality is a moving target. He's just justifying bigotry by leaning on the crutch that is religion.

My thoughts:

I'd like to address the difference between civil "unions" and "marriage." Marriage is a legal term associated with over 400 legal privileges that are relevant here in Maryland as well as throughout the US. Without this wording and intent, little would be accomplished by a bill for "Civil Unions." All marriages are Civil; each couple has to get a license from the state and be married by someone who is sanctioned by the state, whether that person is a member of a religious group or the clerk of court. The issue here is legal protection, which those of us who have enjoyed throughout our lives as heterosexuals take for granted.


Of the Ten comandments, exactly how many are applicable to civil law? Two? Maybe three? And, the last time I checked, none of them prohibited loving commited relationships. Good try, though. Oh, and by the way, keep your "comandments" off my courthouse lawn ... and out of my civil law.


Thanks for that straw man. As I'm sure you're aware, worker ants don't reproduce; do you think that they are unnatural as well?

Try picking up a book once in a while, Vernon. Homosexuality has been documented in hundreds of animal species, so don't spout that crap about it being against nature. Besides, monogamy is what's against nature. If we were meant to be monogamous, we'd be like most animals and only be interested in sex a few times a year. But, oh right, you probably don't believe in evolution, therefore biology, and therefore any study of nature. No wonder you think homosexuality is unnatural. You check a book instead of looking outside.

That's very articulate, Catherine! Beautifully done. :)

So Robert, people didn't have a conscience before the magical discovery of the ten commandments? You say our laws are created based on a religious belief and I say it just so happens to align itself with a common sense thought process, which existed a gazillion years before your stone tablets came about.

I love the separation of Church and State that is on display here..oh wait..sorry

Vernon what gives you the right to impose your beliefs on others?

You cannot argue seperation of church and state then cry to the goverment that you have a right to marriage

Marrige is a religous rite not a civil right.

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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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