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February 14, 2011

Sen. Klausmeier also to vote yes to gay marriage

Sen. Katherine Klausmeier said Monday that she has decided to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, putting the measure within a breath of passage in the Senate.

"I just weighed all of the options," said the Baltimore County Democrat, who earlier told The Sun that she was torn about the issue. "It's about fairness."

Klausmeier becomes the second previously undeclared senator in a day to lend support to advocates, who plan a rally Monday evening. Earlier, Sen. Edward Kasemeyer said he has decided to back it. (The two are pictured on the right.)

That gives the legislation a solid 23 yes votes, out of 24 needed for Senate approval. Sen. Joan Carter Conway has said that if she appears to be the 24th vote, she will "pray really hard" and decide what to do.

With the Senate's approval, the same-sex marriage plan would move to the House of Delegates, where it has at least enough votes to make it out of committee and to the floor for a full-chamber debate.

More on Conway -- and a full list of senators and how they plan to vote -- after the jump.

Here's what Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a Baltimore Democrat, told The Sun earlier this month:

Conway is one of several senators who wishes the debate were about civil unions. She said she whole-heartedly supports the concept, though "it took me a long time to get there."

She is uncertain whether she can make the leap to backing gay marriage. She finds herself torn between her religious background and her sympathies for minority groups.

As a black woman, she said, she views herself as a "double minority" — and so is uncomfortable with casting a vote that would cause anyone to feel subjected to discrimination.

Conway said her district, which includes Ednor Gardens, Waverly, Guilford and other North Baltimore neighborhoods, is about evenly split on the issue. The three delegates in her district are co-sponsoring the House version of the legislation.

Conway said she would not support the Senate bill if it appears to be failing. But if there are 23 "yes" votes on the board, she said, she will "pray really hard" and make her choice.

Reached Monday by phone, Conway said she is "still praying" and "probably close" to making a decision.

A group of her constituents were among hundreds of advocates who rallied on the plaza in front of the State House Monday evening to support the bill. Lorie Benning, 41, of Northeast Baltimore had a bouquet of carnations for Conway. (Photographed on the right).

"I think it needs to be passed," Benning said. She plans to marry her partner over the summer and said she hopes to have the ceremony in Maryland.

Sun reporter Annie Linskey contributed.

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

For

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)

Against
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/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
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 Julie Bykowicz at 4:42 PM | | Comments (21)
Categories: 2011 legislative session
        

Comments

"No army on Earth can withstand the force of an idea whose time has come" Robert Kennedy

Why didn't the Democrats have the wattpower to put civil unions only in the bill? It would be done by now. They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

""Why didn't the Democrats have the wattpower to put civil unions only in the bill? ""
________________________

For the same reason why they aren't putting Separate but equal schools on the ballot.

Sen Kasemeyer is truly the contemporary progressive. A consistent supporter of BGE's rate monopoly, insurance dept rulings that favor an industry represented by his lobbyist wife, and a man who never met a parcel of land that shouldn't be bulldozed into dense housing in areas with overcrowded roads, schools and sewage systems. But he is "for" civil rights, like I Suppose, the sainted RFK(Joe McCarthy's hired gun). Instead of chasing Reds and trade unionists, like the handout for minorities Bobby K, Ed K believes fairness today is a marriage certificate for would be couples named Ed and Bob. Something equivalent to the right to vote for nonwhites or employment rights for women? I don't think so. But we're about sexual fulfillment today as fundemental civil rights,not the right to unionize or the right to be free of the military industrial health care complex that has bought and paid for phony libs like Ed K and our sainted Gov.

Please let me state this SSLLOOOWWWLLYY. It's is not about GAY MARRIAGE it's about CIVIL RIGHTS. Think before you vote, history will be made with or without you.

It's the right thing to do morally and economically.

Onward to full marriage equality rights now.

Cheers,
Joe Mustich, CT Justice of the Peace,
Red Studio Farm, Washington Green,
CT USA

Retire the marriage police.

Marriage as universaly defined is between of course a man and a woman.
If passed in ths state we will see more lawsuites when employerrs deny benefits to same sex couples, divorce litigation..well lawyers will love that and in total this will be another area where the state has no right intervening.
Anyway the great State of MD. and Gov. OMealey mouth has already allowed same sex partners to benefit with full medical coverage while with his other mouth trying to cut retiree med benefits who have sacraficed..so here we go again....just have to love this state..pathetic for gutless legislati=ors who fail to look at common sense..

@ fred nastri

Er ... not so "universally," any more. You really should get out more.

And yes, do expect lawsuits if employers deny benefits to lawfully wedded spouses. I think you might be talking to lawyers if your employer said your spouse wasn't good enough to receive benefits.

My personal opinion is that this debate should be about civil unions and not marriages. Marriage is defined by each person's individual religion and as such should not be up to a government to intrepret its meaning. If you ask me, no state should recognize any religious marriage, BUT all states should recognize Civil Unions. You should not be allowed to get a MARRIAGE certificate from the court house, but only a CIVIL UNION certificate. It would make the whole thing a lot less messier.

'realist'?

Do you really think that those heterosexual couples who get a civil marriage will proudly tell everyone that they are 'civil unioned' or will proudly tell everyone that they are 'married'?

In other words, what you are advocating is a separate but equal solution.

Mike,

I am not advocating a separate but equal solution. I am advocating an equal solution. Again the term marriage is defined by each individual religion. There are religions that recognize gay marriages just as there are religions that recognize hetrosexual marriages.

Just because someone says they are married does not mean they truely are. gain the sanctity of marriage is only recognized by your religion.

By removing the title marriage in government and government settings setting and ONLY recognizing Civil Unions everyone is EQUAL! Not separate but equal BUT EQUAL.


@realist,

The "sanctity" of marriage (aside from that which may grow from years of companionship) is afforded *only* by the sacrament of Holy Matimony, which is dispensed by the Church ... and which is entirely optional. The State provides (and has for years) CIVIL Marriage, which is *not* a sacrament (nor is it optional if a couple is to be "married"). The campaign for marriage equality has nothing to do with Sacraments ... and everything to do with (Civil) marriage. I make this point (and have repeatedly) because your "solution" of universal civil union would be far more disruptive to cultural norms than would the extension of an existing service of the State to all citizens, without distinction and without prejudice. And without deference to the (irrelevant)religious dogma held by a few.

What I like about the argument made by some people that the state shouldn't force "The Church" to marry homosexuals is that they clearly think that every church is as hateful and fearful as their own.

To Realist:

Heck no! Do you have any idea what it would cost to go through every law in the state and change "marriage" to "civil union"?

People have just got to get over the word "marriage". Maryland has too much of a budget deficit to quibble over semantics.

It's marriage for all. And that's the way it should be.

BankStreet,

I understand your point and I respect your opinion. I believe we are relatively on the same side of the debate here. You are stating the union of two people in the eyes of government is a "Civil Marriage" and I am referring to that same union as a "Civil Union." Other than that, what is the fundamental differenct?

I think confusion is one of the issues. Both the state and religion use the term marriage. That is confusing! Let's work on mitigating this confusion and only have religions use marriage and the state/government use the term union. Or Only the State can use marriage and religion uses Union. Personally I don't care so long as there is a clear distinction between the two.

And if my "solution", as you put it, is so much more disruptive to social norms....well...isn't that the point? The social norms are what need to change here, so yes there will be a little disruption in the process.

'realist'?

Do you realize that the 'primitive' X-ian church did not participate in marriage, as it was a carry-over from the Roman Republic and Roman Empire? Rome used marriage to figure out who had first claim to the assets of the deceased, who had second claim, etc. It also established the duties and privileges of those who were joined in the union of two individuals. There was no religious connotation given to 'marriage' by the Romans.

Even after X-ianity became the religion of the Empire, the church stayed completely out of it, leaving it up to the state. Only when the Western Empire disappeared, and chaos started breaking out with disputes about inheritance did the X-ian church start to get involved in marriage.

Oh, and why does the minister, priest, rabbi, imam, etc., state "By the authority granted to me by the state. . . ." just prior to stating ". . . I pronounce you. . . ."?

Yea! Good for Sen. Kausmeier. All Americans deserve the right to marriage equality!

Mike...are you serious? I have been to many weddings in all kinds of churches and I have never heard a priest say "By the authority granted to me by the state..." They say "I now pronounce you husband and wife, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." The priest has the authority of God and the state recogignizes that authority.

The only time a minister will talk about the power granted to them by the state is if the ceremony is not a religious ceremony and not performed in a church, mosque, synagog, etc.

I respect your knowledge on the history of Christianity, but your last paragraph was not thought out.

Realist,

I have been to any number of religious weddings in which the officiant referred to the power of the State empowering his "pronouncement."

A search of the Internet will provide many examples of this sort of phrasing.

I hope you don't believe everything you find on the internet.....

realist,

Certainly not, but I do believe my ears and trust my memory.

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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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