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February 17, 2011

Senate committee backs gay marriage

Annie Linskey reports:

As expected, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7-4 Thursday to recognize same-sex marriage. The legislation now goes to the full Senate for debate next week.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller warned senators Thursday to be "flexible" with their evening schedules next week, and said the body might even have to work on the weekend. In addition to same-sex marriage, other issues that evoke passions -- including oyster poaching -- are set to hit the floor.

Miller predicted that debate on same-sex marriage would start in earnest on Tuesday.

"I want everyone to have their say," he said. "When it appears people are repeating themselves, then we will take a cloture vote."

The senate president guessed the final passage vote would come Monday Feb. 28.

Advocates believe they have the votes to cut off debate and bring the legislation to a vote. Whether they have the votes for passage is much less clear. Twenty-three senators have said they'd vote for the bill, but 24 are needed. (See vote list after the jump.)

Three senators have not publicly declared their intentions -- though one, Baltimore's Joan Carter Conway, has hinted that she'll support the bill.

The other two undecided senators faced a scrum of reporters this morning after session. Sen. Jim Rosapepe, who represents College Park, rebuffed questions from WBAL's Dave Collins. Holding his hand up to his face, Rosapepe said: "No, comment." And then quickly walked down the statehouse stairs. Rosapepe has said he will announce his position before the week is out.

Anne Arundel County's Sen. John Astle also wouldn't declare his intentions until the vote is called.

"You'll see it on the board," he said. "Watch it on the board when I cast my vote."

Meanwhile, House leaders have already scheduled a committee hearing for their version of the bill on Friday Feb. 25.

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. 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 Matthew Hay Brown at 5:34 PM | | Comments (11)


Many congratulations to the Senate Committee for moving forward with Marriage Equality.

The members of the Senate need to face a few facts:

In every state where the voters have been allowed to vote on this issue, they have said NO to same-sex marriage.

In states where same-sex marriage was imposed by the legislature or court, those legislatures (Iowa, New Hampshire) were turned from Democrat to Republican, in large part in large part because the voters didn't like having same-sex marriage imposed on them against their will.

In states where same-sex marriage was imposed, there are strong efforts to repeal it (again, New Hampshire and Iowa).

In Maine, the voters held a "people's veto" of their same-sex marriage law before it could to into effect.

In Wyoming, their senate just voted to ban the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages.

And in Indiana, they are on the verge of passing a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage.

These Maryland senators need to understand that same-sex marriage is simply NOT what the voters of this country want, and that they impose it on them at the peril of their own political careers.

If these senators think this is what the voters really want, then let the voters choose it. Let them vote on the issue. Of course, the only reason they wont is because deep down they know the voters would reject it, the way they have everywhere else.

The only poll that counts is the one at the ballot box. No poll, NOM's or any other poll, is as important as how the voters express their opinions at the ballot box. Don't think for a moment that the voters of Maryland won't let the legislature know how they really feel about same-sex marriage being imposed on them should the legislature be so arrogant as to do that without letting their voices be heard.


Get your petitions ready. Get enough signatures and you and the hate brigade will get a chance to try to revoke civil rights in November 2012.

I wish our legislators would spend more time on revamping pedophile laws to protect our children than on frivolous issues such as documenting the "closing of the cycle of life".

"Don't think for a moment that the voters of Maryland won't let the legislature know how they really feel about same-sex marriage being imposed on them..."

Really? Unless you happen to be gay or lesbian and want to get married, exactly how is this being imposed on you?

If civil rights were put up to a popular vote, we'd still be discriminating against blacks, interracial marriage, and women voting.

Honestly, this should be a non-issue in this day and age.

Karen- It is unconstitutional for a majority population to vote for a minorities rights. Everytime marriage for same-sex couples is voted on is strictly unconsitutional for any democratic nation to lead.

That's why CIVIL RIGHTS are supposed to be decided by the legislature, including (historically) womens suffrage and racial laws.

I wish our legislators would spend more time on revamping pedophile laws to protect our children than on frivolous issues such as documenting the "closing of the cycle of life".

Karen - are you willing to have that referendum also include marriage rights for infertile people and divorce rights? When was the vote held to allow you to have marriage rights?

Let me preface this by saying that I believe very strongly in the lord and Christ our savior, I am Straight and Married and am a conservative republican. All of these things play a major role in the way I see the world and I think the values of my religion and politics very much make the nation a better place.

Given these values, I find it hard to believe that anyone who has any love or strong belief in the power of the lord, could see fit to come to an arrogant human conclusion that the lord makes mistakes. Do we think that the lord is flawed in his creation of a mass of people or do we think human interpretations of the lord are flawed. Are we so arrogant as to think that the lord is wrong and we are right. God made us gay and straight, and there are too many people who represent both these groups to think there was a flaw in God's work. Why do people chose to hate and steal the civil, human God given rights of people, who unlike killers and pedophiles are involved in consensual relationships? Those feelings to me appear to be the influence of the devil.

Furthermore, why is there such fear and hatred. I am straight and don't think there is anything anyone can do to hurt me by being gay. No one is going to turn me or anyone else gay against my or their will, if that is a fear.

Civil rights are a conservative, judeo-christian value. Republicans have always been the defenders of the basic liberties of americans. These are not criminals were talking about, they're our fellow countrymen.

I would like to welcome my gay and lesbian friends to the wonderful world of bickering, bitterness, divorce, broken homes, child suppoert, and alimony. Be careful what you wish for!

Thank you, neumsy.

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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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