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February 17, 2011

Gay marriage has the votes to clear Md. Senate

Sen. James Rosapepe just issued an email to constituents saying that he will support the same-sex marriage bill. That means 24 senators have publicly committed to vote for the bill -- enough for passage.

Here's the contents of the email that Rosapepe sent out, note that he supports the bill "as amended" -- so other changes to the bill could theoretically change his support:

Thanks for contacting me to let me know of your support for SB 116, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. I am writing to let you know that it was passed today by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and will be voted on the Senate floor next week.
I intend to vote for the bill as it was reported out of Committee with a strengthened conscience clause to respect the views of religious denominations which do not recognize same sex marriage. I don’t know what other amendments may be proposed on the Senate floor but will keep your concerns in mind as we consider them.
I appreciate so much the time you and many other constituents have taken to share with me your reasons for supporting the bill.
Please feel free to be in touch with me on issues of concern to you and whenever I can be of help.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 6:15 PM | | Comments (29)



As a constituent, please let me thank you for all that you seek to do for the citizens of Maryland. Your service is appreciated.

However; I must respectfully take issue with you. . .

Sex is a private matter; ideally between consenting individuals. "Gays"; homosexuals and lesbians, engage in sexual activity with members of their same gender. The word "GAY" has been adopted to denote those who are open in declaring their sexual practices, often without solicitation or inquiry.

Are we really seeking to adopt legislation that changes long-standing laws and impact the bedrock relationship of society (marriage) simply because a vocal minority seeks to be recognized because they openly declare who they have sex with?

Since one cannot be "GAY" without consummating the sex act and regularly engaging in it, why are we considering legislation based on sexual choices that should be private and personal? You know that living wills, living trusts, pre-requirements in medical issues will act to remedy many of the concerns of the Same-Sex Marriage Advocates. Why are you yielding to political pressure, compromising your moral standing, and calling a Religious Right, Wrong?

I deeply respect you and up til now, I support you. However, I do not know how I can continue to support those who call wrong right and right wrong. Senator, Please reconsider you recent declaration.

In closing, please do not take offense at this, but I wonder how can anyone support Same-Sex Marriage when they are here as a product of the original and still the only way that a society can thrive and produce individuals that contribute to it. "Same-Sex Marriage" offers no natural, Spiritual, nor moral lasting benefit to society. I hope that you recall this and stand on the truth.

Charles Johnson

Mr. Johnson:
If one is not gay unless one has and contuines to engage in sexual relations with a person of the same gender, is one not heterosexual unless one has and continues to engage in sexual relations with a person of the opposite gender?
That's your logic, right? So virgins are asexual; right?

And what is your source for the statement that the term gay is used for people who publicly annouce with whom they are having sexual relations, or at least the gender of the person with whom they are having sexual relations? We all know that there are people living among us who engage in homosexual activity and make no public notice of same. Are they not gay? What about heterosexuals? Must we announce our sexual activity to be so identified?

And, finally,if your statement that the purpose of marriage is procreation, then sterile individuals, either due to medical conditions or age, should be barred from marriage, right? They cannot produce children so there is no benefit to their union according to your logic.

Use your brain before you write such a long post.

why is the senate going to pass this dumb ass bill you and society are just making this homosexual thing worse by passing this bill now the state of maryland are going to have queers of the same sex running around all over the place. its not right. iam sure the senate could find a bill to pass that will do people some good.maryland politics is fucked up. this is just another way for gays to have society to accecpt their way of living and lifestyle.

why is the senate going to pass this dumb ass bill you and society are just making this homosexual thing worse by passing this bill now the state of maryland are going to have queers of the same sex running around all over the place. its not right. iam sure the senate could find a bill to pass that will do people some good.maryland politics is fucked up. this is just another way for gays to have society to accecpt their way of living and lifestyle.

Charles Johnson keep your eyes on your hands and write back when you evolve a thumb.

GAY men and women have feelings, emotions, anger and hope that one day we will be seen as humans. I feel it is important to know that GOD (the real one, not the hate filled biggoted god most people pray to) wants nothing but love in this world. I support gay marriage b/c I AM A GAY MAN.

It's about time our lawmakers start making laws that provide for ALL citizens and not just the ones who fall under their own personal religious beliefs. As Mr. Johnson stated, sex is a private matter. Does he not think that men and women engage in some pretty outrageous activities themselves that would hardly be considered condusive to creating children? And why is procreation the only reason the religious right can come up with to be against same-sex marriage? Guess what, people are going to keep producing children - in and out of wedlock - even if two people of the same sex are permitted to marry. Marriage is NOT about religion, marriage is a legally binding contract that provides over 1000 protections and benefits for the couple. To continue to deny these things based on antiquated and misguided religious beliefs is nothing but discrimination, plain and simple. In the United States of America, we can not continue to write discriminatory measures into law. That is not the American way. Lawmakers have to stop using religion as a means to decide on laws. There is separation of church and state and if a politician can not leave their own beliefs at the threshold before going into a vote, then they have no business making decisions for everyone in Maryland who does not share those same religious beliefs. And religious institutions have no business whatsoever getting involved in political matters. Keep your noses out of other peoples' bedrooms because you just may find yourself outed for your own behavior behind closed doors.

I heard Andy Harris was working his old senate colleagues real hard to vote against same sex marriage. Stay in Washington!

I am one that does not judge another persons way of living, but there are times that you must draw the line. Those that engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex is very wrong in my book. I see no reason to pass this legislation so they will be able to have the same rights as a legal married couple has.

@Charles above... I've never seen such an insulting comment hidden under a layer of politeness.

First, "consummating the sex act" is not a requirement for any marriage, whether civil or religious. Uncle Sam doesn't peep in a heterosexual couple's window to track their progress. And, wait a second, didn't you just mention that SEX IS A PRIVATE MATTER??!?!

Private... as in none of your business. Private... as in not a place where government should intervene.
Private... as in irrelevant to the marriage debate in MD.

Second, all the legal hoops you mentioned (living wills, trusts, etc) can easily be granted with one word: marriage. Having a separate set of standards for a group of people just because they're not heterosexual is unjust.

Finally, gay people will continue to exist whether or not they are allowed to get married. Expanding the law will make their lives easier and more complete. Denying them equal standing sweeps their lives under a rug; they'll still be there as an anonymous hump under the rug of inequality.

Jim Jones: You're an idiot. Learn to spell and write a proper sentence before ranting like a moron.

Charles Johnson: I agree that sex is a private matter. So is religion. Let's let everyone do what they please sexually and religiously, until they're raping children and blowing up buildings. A little anal sex or cunnilingus never hurt anybody.

Jim Bob

To everyone here who believes that marriage is solely for procreation and the passage of a same-sex marriage law will be the end of civilization as we know it ... check your facts before you post your so-called facts. The population of Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont have all increased, even with laws allowing same-sex marriage. Having sex and producing children doesn't require a license or the blessing of the church. How many unwed teens are out there popping out one kid after another without benefit of either? The procreation argument holds no water. And, guess what people - there are already "queers" running around all over Maryland so passing a law to allow them to be legally protected like the "breeders" isn't going to change that little fact. You need to come out of your basements once in a while and live in the real world for a change. News flash - it's the 21st century!

Does it really matter? It will absolutely be on the ballot in 2012 where it will be overwhelmingly rejected by the majority of Maryland voters. When gay marriage is on the ballot, it has failed in every state. Letting voters decide will be the death knell for this ridiculous pursuit - when so many are jobless, facing foreclosure - legislators decide to focus on gay marriage.

In response to Charles Johnson's post - I am gay and if I never have sex again as long as I live, I will still be gay. Having sex (or not) does not change a person's sexuality.

To Maryland Senators and Representatives; thank you so much for having the courage to move forward on this bill and hopefully pass it, allowing same sex couples to marry.

To all those who disagree with the passage of this law - why don't you move to Utah or some other religiously oppressive state where you would feel more comfortable and you would be surrounded by those who think like you do? Not many gays in Utah. I hear the skiing is good there, too! I'm sure they'd love to have you.

Mr. Charles Johnson,
Please allow *me* to repectfully take issue with your comments: Sex is, indeed, a private matter, which makes it all the more baffling to me that you spend such in inordinate amount of time discussing it in your post. It seems that only heterosexual opponents of same-sex marriage insist on discussing this issue as a matter of sex and the sex act. Marriage, especially civil marriage, is about much more than with whom one is having sex.

You correctly identify a number of legal maneuvers, documents, and agreements that would address “many” of the concerns expressed by marriage equality advocates (interesting how your own observations recognize that these alternatives do not address ALL concerns of supporters, inferring the inherent inequity of them). However, all of those issues are addressed automatically by civil marriage, without the added expense and burden of engaging lawyers..

Another falsehood that you state as fact is that one cannot be gay unless one has gay sex. That is patently false, as there are any number of gay men and women who are not having sex, but who still identify as gay. Again, you seem unusually fixated on the act, rather than the issue.

Lastly, you drag out the old chestnut about marriage being about procreation. There are any number of heterosexual, married couples who are childless, by choice or by circumstance. I doubt that any of those couples would agree with you that their marriage is solely about procreation. Would you prohibit these citizens from I wonder, sir, if you yourself are married? If so, would you say that your marriage was solely about procreation? Would your wife concur?

The bottom line, Mr. Johnson, is that your argument, like every other argument against marriage equality, is based on religious convictions that have no place in the discussion. Whether you choose to believe it or not, full equality under the law is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and Maryland’s Legislators are merely recognizing that fact.

J W Vermeal

Dear Mr. Johnson,

George & Martha Washington, Senator & Senator Dole, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell & former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao never had children, so I suppose that in your eyes their marriages aren't valid.

Sen. Currie, however, appears to be on your side. He cites as a reason his experience growing up in North Carolina -- at a time when interracial marriages were felonies punishable by up to ten years in jail plus a fine -- and the influence of the churches -- many of which were perfectly happy with the idea of jailing straight couples for up to ten years if they were not properly color-coordinated.

I am glad, however, that you have decided to renounce any support for the typical Republican politician, who -- assuming you believe what Jesus taught -- has enthusiastically condemned himself/herself to burn in hell forever.

I hope gay people get this bill. Best part being a future divorce attorney, doubles my potential clients! If gay people want the headache of splitting 50/50 assets n alimony and etc. By all means getter done! It don't matter every institution gets messed up one day or later. It only takes one asshole to screw up something good for all!

Senator Rosapepe,

Thank you for your vote. It will feel great years from now to have been on the right side of history, I assure you.

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I read your post with the intention of taking issue with your logic. However, I found none. I hope it's sunny in your world.


Dear Senator,
Thank you so much.

Many people forget the value of diversity. How many different families there are RIGHT NOW without having the marriage rights, there are numerous same sex couples raising kids AS WE SPEAK.

As to reader who said Gay Marriage provides no benefit to society, I ask you this, why would you want everybody the same? Imagine everybody the same skin color, same hair color, same personality type. This world was MEANT for DIVERSITY, and you Senator stand up for that. As Jesus said many times, Turn the other Cheek, if it bothers you to see same sex couples, do exactly that. You have the power to control your reality, but to control others is impossible.

But thank you so much for your vote Senator, you are an amazing man who will go down in history for standing up for the correct position. Kids will read your name in history books.


Although religious fundamentalists of all faiths are keen to say that the Scriptural norm for marriage is one man and one woman, the more prevalent Biblical norm is actually polygamy. Most of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Jacob, Noah, Moses, etc.) as well as the Kings (Saul, David, Solomon, Jeroboam, Herod, etc.) all had well documented harems. But yet I don't see the clergy lining up in Annapolis or elsewhere demanding a change to the marriage laws to allow polygamy.

Then there is the not so little problem of Adam and Eve. After Cain kills his brother, Able, a literal interpretation of the Bible would put the human race at 2 males (Adam & Cain) and 1 female (Eve). Then Adam & Eve give birth to Seth and "other sons and daughters". For the human race the to have descended from this neat little “one man, one woman” marriage, a number of brothers had to be mating with a number of sisters – and maybe Dad and Mom got into the act too -- all apparently very OK with God. So while we are holding up Biblical norms as the only standard for legal marriage in Maryland, let's not forget we need to allow brothers to marry their sisters, and probably even Moms and Dads to marry their kids -- just like Adam and Eve’s clan.

Then of course there's Jesus himself. In spite of the enormous pressure to, like most Jewish males of the day, marry and carry on his Father's line, he never marries nor does he even have a hint of a girl friend let alone any betrothals, and instead spends all of his time with 12 guys who he repeatedly asks if they love him, one of which even becomes known as his “beloved” disciple. I am not suggesting that Jesus was in anything that even remotely resembled a "gay marriage" but It is clear that he was not of a mind to hold himself up as a role model for what the preachers of today squawk about as the ideal state for a human relationship.

There’s a bunch of other bothersome stuff out there too. King David’s interesting homoerotic relationship with King Saul’s son Jonathan for example. Then in the 6th century, there is St Benedict writing in his rule that older monks should not pursue affectionate relationships with younger monks because it would “disturb the good order of the house.” The Rule of St. Benedict is the widely acknowledged basis even today of monastic discipline in the Eastern and Western Churches. Note the reason is not because such attractions were immoral or unnatural. To the contrary, Benedict saw them as clearly normal and natural. In fact, he expected them to happen. So much so was his concern, that he thought it wise to write a prohibition against it into his rule because these very natural reactions would distract the monk from his calling and could cause spats and other disturbances to the monastic routine.

There are more present day developments as well. In its document Gaudium et Spes, the Catholic Church's Second Vatican Council stated that the purpose of marriage goes well beyond the procreation of children. It in fact has two co-equal purposes. First of course is the procreation of children but the other is for the mutual satisfaction and fulfillment of the couple. This statement modified the previous norm promulgated by Pope Pius XI in his letter from 1930, Casti Connubii, which said that marriage was for making babies – end of story. Gaudium et Spes says, well yes but it's also an equally good reason to marry for the mutual benefit of the couple. John Paul II later called this marriage's "unitive significance" in addition to its "procreative significance". Gaudium et Spes is important since the church teaches that when a Council of Bishops speaks in unison with the Pope (in this case Pope Paul VI) that this is a situation in which the Church is speaking "infallibly". Interesting! In other words, although this little infallible teaching is now conveniently minimized by the neo-conservative mindset that is increasingly befalling the Church under this new Pope, it says that two human beings who love one another and who are willing to commit to helping one another achieve a deep, healthy, loving and spiritual union, is a sufficient condition for a "marriage".

The bottom line is that civil marriage under Maryland law is just that – a civil matter. Religions can slice and dice their scriptures however they want or manipulate history or take whatever other convoluted path they wish to concoct their dogmas and doctrines – most are pretty disingenuous it seems to me -- but the law needs to stand on its own merits using the constitution of the US and the state as its guide. This law is about fundamental freedoms that need to be extended to all our citizens.

Period! Amen!

How can you say we support this bill ? Marriage is a holy bond between a man and a woman. It is not a holy bond between 2 men or 2 women.

If gays, lesbians, etc. want health care rights, etc. That's fine. But DO NOT DEFILE the sanctity of marriage.

May God forgive you Senator and forgive and protect us all.

congratulations Maryland..for treating ALL of your hard working-tax paying, loving citizens one person mentioned..yes.this will go to referendum...yes...the heteros have managed to vote against gays EVERY time...but if these heteros actually took notice to the polls..and how the numbers are changing..its only a matter of time before the younger generation has the FINAL say..and votes for gay marriage...but sure the Religious Right will then someone NOT be in favor of Ballot measures...
and once Prop 8 dies in Ca...there goes your ballot measure attempts anyway....that measure will be decided unconstitutional...and I hate to inform the christians..but GOD made and loves his gay people..he did not put them on this planet for your to just bully, call names, beat up..and discriminate against.
Thanks Maryland have done something that the people refuse to do..actually read the constitution!!!!!!!!!!

Sandra does not judge..but draws a line...well sandra..that certainly sounds like judging to in a committed monogamous loving relationship..that I choose to have a written marriage contract with my partner is MY business ...not yours...your arrogance is overwheming and anti american by the way.

masscas, this is not about religion or holiness. This is about a civil contract. No church will have to perform any marriage they don't want to perform. A state government recognizing these unions doesn't "defile" anything.

I am a straight married woman who is extremely happy that many of my good friends will be able to celebrate their love the way that my husband and I did.
What worries me, is how much hate there is in the comments here and on the main article. People are preaching the Bible, yet can not remember to treat each other with respect and like human beings. I don't consider myself to be the religious person, but I am pretty sure that any God wants peace and good will amongst each other.

Intelligent Bible thinking is not oxymoronic. There are different levels of viewing the Bible that will lead to understanding if not enlightenment. Do a search: The First Scandal.

Well well, who are legislators..lawyers , the majority at they would support GAY Marriage, heck if stats hold true 50 percent of their so called marriages will end in divorce and guess who benefits..thats right lawyers..a whole new avenue for I see the deal...hmm.

I didn't realize the 14th amendment didn't apply to all US citizens! Oh wait, the language says: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." For some crazy reason it does not distinguish straight v gay... that's just weird...

And I agree with those who think it's ridiculous that the legislation is worrying about this. They absolutely shouldn't have to- you would think the US Constitution was clear enough. But as long as people actually care about who is having sex with who's anus... I guess we'll all just have to learn to live with it.

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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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