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March 1, 2011

House panel delays gay marriage vote at least a day

Update: The House Judiciary Committee did not vote on same-sex marriage this evening. Delegates on the committee, even some sponsors, say they need more time to think.

The development comes after hours of talks between the House leadership and several co-sponsors who said they wanted to withhold support to draw attention to other issues, including education funding and unrelated family law bills.  

Chairman Joseph F. Vallario says he'll assess the situation tomorrow and decide how to proceed. Republicans are angry, saying the Democratic leadership is making too many accommodations for a bill that they say Maryland residents do not support.


Del. Jill Carter, a Baltimore Democrat, said she is reluctant to vote on legislation that would legalize marriage for same-sex couples until other issues, including a child custody bill and education funding, gain traction in the General Assembly this year.

Carter was one of two delegates supportive of gay marriage who staged a walkout this morning during a specially scheduled vote on the marriage proposal -- which has already cleared the Senate and had been expected to make it out of the House committee today.

But Carter said there are "more important, or at least equally important" issues that she would like to see fast-tracked in the way that, in her view, gay marriage has been. And she said that until she hears from House leadership, she does not plan to cast a committee vote in favor of the Civil Marriage Protection Act.

She is a critical vote: The House Judiciary Committee contains only exactly enough "yes" votes to get the same-sex marriage proposal out of committee and to the House floor for debate by the entire 141-member chamber.

Judiciary Chairman Joseph F. Vallario said his committee would vote on the bill this evening, but it's now unclear if that will happen.

Carter said lawmakers should be devoting their energy to restoring education funding cuts to Baltimore and Prince George's County (Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget plan calls for several million dollars in reduced funding to those two jurisdictions) and to her own bill to provide a presumption of joint custody to divorcing couples.

She said that while she believes in the civil rights of gay couples who want to marry, she wants to "send a message to leadership" that there are other critical issues, too.

"It's important, but there's other very important things," she said.

Carter said there's no need to "fast-track" gay marriage since the 90-day session is only about half over and lawmakers are in their first year of a four-year term.

She said she is "absolutely" willing to take a hit for withdrawing her support on gay marriage if it makes a larger point about her favored issues.

"I'm trying to leverage the vote to get something for my constituents," she said.

Carter predicted the Judiciary Committee would not vote on gay marriage until House leadership has appeased her. "They can't vote for the bill without my vote."

The other delegate who was absent from committee this morning, Del. Tiffany Alston, a Prince George's County Democrat, has yet to appear at a 1 p.m. committee hearing on unrelated bills. (Update: Alston arrived just before 2 p.m.)

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 6:22 PM | | Comments (62)
Categories: 2011 legislative session


why is blackmail legal in politics and not in the real world?

Fast tracked? This has been going on in MD for 7years. Somebody needs to smack this lady in the head and ask her how long do tax paying gay citizens of MD need to wait on her?



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I'm emailing my delegates and my Senator and telling them to stop all State aid to Balitmore City now.

It really stinks to have our lives used by both parties as a political football.

This delegate has her priorities right. The budget bill and other matters are much more important right now and must be dealt with. Everyone is talking about the budget so why aren't we dealing with that? Good work! Finally someone is standing up for what is important.

Carter would lose my vote if she doesn't support this bill. And I live in her district (and I'm not gay). Yes, there are lots of important bills to pass, and this is one of them, but it's on the verge of passing, and sometimes you have to play with the deck dealt.

Vote trading is a legislative reality, but if every legislator said "You Don't Get What You Want Until I Get What I Want," nothing would ever get done. It is childish and cowardly.

And for your sake, Delegate Carter, and the sake of your proposed legislation, I hope that none of the other members of your committee are so petty or childish. I bet that none of them will hold hostage your legislation, because they are professionals and not entirely self-concerned.

Del. Carter is the one wasting time. If she wasn't throwing a tantrum, the bill could get out of committee, voted on, over and done with.

This is absolutely unreal. I'm emailing everyone I know in her district to "withhold" their vote for her in the coming election. These are civil rights, not a political chip to be leveraged. This is politics at its worst. Exactly what the American people have been so dismayed about. This is like the earmarks stunts pulled with the healthcare bill.

Let's give the rights and move on to the rest of the state's business.

p.s. This bill has been around for years. Fast-tracking...pfft.

Let me get this straight. She says there's a lot of important work to do and so to get it done she leaves?

Why not just vote on the same sex marriage bill, get it done, and move on. Its not like they worked on one of the other issues instead. She just left.

Seriously? I am sure the joint custody issue is a worthy issue to look at and discuss this session, but do we have to hold up something so easy to push through? Do we really hold up thousands of people's rights to economic security in marriage in a time of financial crisis? If we get this bill through and off the docket there is a ton of things that can be done. Back door dealing like this is making me nervous. I fully understand the need to get many issues that affect the whole of Maryland is important, but this is also something that doesn't require the necessary tweaks and legal considerations that many bills waiting review require. If we have to make a deal to satisfy Ms Carter (for a bill that certainly is worth attention by all parents including gay and lesbian ones) we should do it but what's to stop others from following?

Don't get your panties and flannel shirts in a bunch already! I am sure liberal maryland will push through this so that a progressive antifamily value atmosphere can transpire and th etramping of traditonal family values will be extinguished an dthen schools can teach young minds to be proud and gay and further teach them how to sex up one aother in gay style in sex ed classes.

Yes, there are other important issues, but the faster this issue is addressed, the faster they can begin on the others. You cannot achieve any goal unless you begin.

This is absolutely the last time I will vote for Carter. Her legislative temper tantrum affects so many MD families and only underlines her disrespect for the political process. Hunting Ridge's 15 plus households directly affected by her IN-ACTION will remember this during the next election cycle.

Del. Carter must be joking... what a pathetic excuse for not voting. With her reasoning NOTHING would ever pass the House or Senate. SIMPLY PATHETIC! Stand up and vote- that's your job. As an African American female, how would YOU feel if in the 60s others simply walked away from voting for your right to vote, etc. because "other things were more important"?? GET A BACKBONE!

Email addresses for delegates are found here:

Let them know what you think...

Hey MD, get moving into the 21st century, like CT, where we a passed marriage equality law in 2008, and life goes on.....

Cheers, Joe Mustich,
CT Justice of the Peace, USA

Marriage police need to retire.

thank you jill. let them gay folks know that it is not all about them. plus not all gays want to be "married". there are probably some that at happy just the way they are.(happy and gay) if you desire to be with one of the same sex, go ahead but don't try and force others to say it is okay, right, or just. it is just plain "NOT"
Better yet, call that relationship a " sortamarried" or a "kindamarried" but it is not Married cuz it is not a man and woman which is reallymarried.

Enjoy some tweets from Jill Carter:

FROM JULIE: Please note the "faux."

As a gay resident of Del. Carter's district, I am absolutely furious with her actions on this bill. I so, however support both of the bills that she wants passed. But it is SHAMEFUL to hold thousands of gay families in our state (and many ib her district) hostage to her political agenda. Even if she thinks there are more important things to discuss, she must respect the legislative process and the vote of her committee to consider this marriage legislation. With prayer, hope, and trust, she and her colleague will come back to the table. Then we can pass this critical marriage bill and ALL Maryland families can have equal recognition under the law.

"Other things are important too" is NOT a good reason to block progress on the important thing that happens to be up for consideration now. All that does is leave everyone stuck where they are.

Tell her how you feel...

(410) 841-3283, (301) 858-3283
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3283 (toll free)
fax: (410) 841-3251, (301) 858-3251

To my gay family, If they do not pass it, feign from spending your money in Maryland unless it's absolutely a must. Hurt them in their pocket book regardless. No pass, no spend! Thanks, all my best.

So, essentially-- she's holding the civil rights of others hostage because fast-tracking those civil rights is somehow hurting other issues she deems "more important?" First of all, WOW is that some privileged BS right there. Second of all, if she quit having a tantrum and let the vote proceed, we could get it done with and move on to those other issues.

What a crybaby.

Her facebook page says she hates stagnation and too much talking..


I am wondering why she never though that passing this would put more money into our state. Couples from other states would also come here to get married adding even more revenue. I do agree that the budget for schools are very important but it has nothing to do with my right to marry or not.
Doesn't anyone remember that this great nation was built on the foundation of seperation of church and state, that means the bible and the church should not have any say on gay marriages or any othr law that is passed by our government.

I am extremely disappointed in the action taken by Delegates Cater, Anderson, and Alston today to delay the Same-Sex Marriage legislation. My partner and I have been together for 29 years. Needless to say, we have waited a long time to be afforded the same legal rights to marriage as are afforded to the majority in this country and state. And, quite frankly, we can literally not stand for yet another delay in passing legislation. Every day, hour, minute, and second legislators delay, for WHATEVER reason, is unfair and works against the ticking time clock of our lives.

I beg each of them to PLEASE reconsider their position and vote for this legislation at their earliest convenience. We know that their heart is in the right place. Please do the right thing by us and our community.

Please do not let us down now when justice is so close at hand.

Figures that the bigot-homophobe would "sign" his post Anonymous. What a coward!

hey dawn, how dare you attempt to compare this choice (to be gay) to any movement in the 60's. every Black person in the 60's was oppressed because of the color of skin, which was and is not a choice.

and for all of you flaming whatevers you were'nt born that way. that is disfunctional, grow some and be happy.

You Switch Hitters can do whateva you wanna....except be legally married and adopt children. Thats one of the reasons this country is all screwed up now. This bill is gonna pass because 75% of congress/whitehouse are SwitchHitters! Flamming Gays!

I am very proud of delegate jill carter standing up for her office for trying to speak out for what she believes is important for her state, etc. Even though i still don't understand why she would vote for same sex marriage, but i hope the bill comes to the voters to decide and i am confident the voters will put an end to this sick debate about gay marriage.

WOW! "FAST TRACK" - This lady is totally out of touch. I sure as heck don't call over 200 years, to get civil rights a fast track. I agree with one of the other bloggers, The political parties in this country need to stop using the gay community as a kick ball. Also, just a friendly reminder to Ms. Jill Carter, Primaries do offer us choices!



I'm originally from Maryland and have been following this issue and vote closely -- and was hoping with pride that Maryland would pass this law. I'm stunned at the irrationality of this delegate, and can only hope that voters who are in favor of equalizing same-sex marriage flood the office of Carter and her colleagues imploring her to vote -- especially given that she is in favor of same-sex marriage. Holding the bill hostage for her other, "more favored" issues is irresponsible and, in this case, hurtful.

These moron legislators can't just change the words "civil marriage" for everyone to "civil union", declare that all benefits accruing to married couples as of Jan 1, 2011, accrure to all civil cermonies for UNIONS not marraiges(which will only be religious after 1/1/2011, and be done with this stupid issue. Let's get on with something importatant, like cutting a billion or so out of the budget so we can get rid of useless flotsam, gay or straight, who work for the state, cities or counties.

What are the libs gonna do when people in "oppressed" cultures in particular continue to harass, beat and kill gays, BTW? Hit them with hate crime indictments? I doubt it. You can't legislate love, so let's do business coldly, the best way. Don't get married in a church? You have right to civil union. Not "marriage". Not even the all-American hetero couple. I'm sick of this, sick of the stupid word "equality" which no one outside of the lib press anywhere in the world believes or cares about.

We need more rich and literate gays/heteros, and fewer poor and illiterate heteros or gays in MD. Now that's the equaltiy I'm talkin about.

Why is it that 99.9% of the time, the most hurtful, ignorant, bigoted, uneducated and downright stupid comments come from those opposed to marriage equality?

Recall - Rights are not up for horse trading. She has no business being a representative.

Well we know that our delegate, Cheryl Glenn, won't help. There's no doubt about that. I agree that Carter's bills are important and I feel like they should also pass, but holding the marriage bill hostage is outrageous. Carter needs to understand civil rights comes first. She'll get more support from the rest of us to help her get those other bills passed if she does not hold this bill hostage. Did someone hold her civil rights bill hostage in the 1960's? Did gay people not march with Dr. King for HER rights? Get with it.

First of all, this is politics at its worst. Holding up a worthwhile bill for your pet project is shameful. I'm not gay and I don't live in her district, but if I did I would never vote for this moron. This is one of the reasons why I have been registered as an independent since the day I registered to vote. Get it out of the way, since it's ripe, and then get on to the other stuff.

And to the person so offended by the comparison of being gay to being black, you might want to try thinking things out before writing them down. Do you really think that being gay is a choice? Do you really think that gay people choose to be ridiculed, stereotyped, and not allowed to marry? Want proof? Being that you're obviously not attracted to people of the same sex as you, what would happen if you tried to have intercourse with someone of the same sex? You probably couldn't do it, and if you could...well then you're gay, or at least bisexual. Pretty easy test.

Hey Woodie, if you're gonna beg, maybe it'll help if you get on your knees.

Delegates Carter, Anderson, and Alston are sponsors of The Civil Marriage Protection Act. It shocks me that a simple bill that only safeguards the economic and legal security of gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships who want to get married or hold legal marriage certificates from other states that recognize same-sex marriages. In these tight economic times, I can appreciate that we must also look at our budgetary priorities as well. And in case of Delegate Carter, the issue of the assumption of joint custody at divorce is another issue we must discuss in our state. But at the 11th hour, when this bill is now prepared to go, I find it very telling that these three would hesitate after a barrage of robo calls and hate-filled speech making the last couple days. The actions of Delegate Stukes is another example. Prejudice is a very strong opponent to truth and what is right. I hope these legislators will realize that their initial instincts were right and pass this bill. It is delay tactics and back door dealing that takes up time, not simple legislation which can be easily implemented. My husband and I, legally married in Connecticut, and others who are married like us legally or want to marry in their home state should not have to wait one day more for a simple right to a piece of paper and the rights and benefits of any other committed couple in the State of Maryland. Progress will happen and history remembers. They should take the view Sen. Ron Young did, "[I]f I lose an election over this vote, so what? It's what's right and I am going to vote for what is right." And that is what we expect from our MD Legislators, a commitment to what is right and not what is politically safe.

Argh! Why is equality not important?! I've been waiting my entire life for some semblance of the freedom and justice that America loves to say it's best at -- and when we have a chance to help meet that goal, we're told to go back to the end of the line?!! This is ludicrous, unjust, and enraging! I'm sick of convincing holier-than-thou Americans that I deserve the same rights and happiness as anyone else is this country and having to convince people of my humanity. This "America" needs serious cleanup when the basic rights of people are continually up for debate.

My open letter to Delegate Jill P Carter is at

Let her know how you feel on her facebook page

I bet if it were more rights for African Americans she would be all over that.

As Americans we should be able to Vote on these Issues ,that effecyt so many Lives.Its only fair considering the impact on so many Lives.! .thanks for your Time..

Right on, Jill!
Children's rights trump adults.
They need and have a basic human right to both parents. Thank you for making a stand for them!!!

The Family Law bill will apply to gays if they get married and have children. Wait til they go through the hell if the other parent is granted sole custody! Gays are shooting themselves in the foot fighting for marriage rights. Divorce is hell and expensive. The attornies that are in charge of the Capitol will pass the bill, they are the ones that are going to make millions from the divorces these marriages will cause. Truth may hurt, good luck. I wish marriage was outlawed for us hetero's after what i've been through.

This is your life style not the life style of even fifty percent of America, and yet you push this on normal people, oh yes I said it. Are you even twenty percent of the population. I do not hate you I feel sorry for you. I do not bother with a thief, a liar, or a cheat, I feel sorry for them also, so ask yourself the question what is your purpose in life, you can not have children, which one of you two men will give birth? Sound crazy, so is Gay marriage!!!

So delegate Carter you just stated Civil rights should take a back seat to your districts needs, I wonder where you would be today without your civil rights.

Loren Kusy -

I think many gays and lesbians would SUPPORT the Family Law Bill, and we probably do! Gays and lesbians no too well the hell of child custody between partners. Try having one partner who is a biological parent and the other who is the "secondary parent" in state law and then have that relationship end and the child is immidately given sole custody to the bio parent. All these cases I mention usually involve a "secondary" parent who helped finance the surrogacy of the child but did not take on the biological role. In other cases there are relationships where relationships break up and some secondary parents aren't even allowed a say since they were not involved in any role in the initial birth or adoption of a child. We know the pain of divorce, we just don't have the same protections because we aren't married. And you know what, we also hold a massive legal burden before and after relationships end because of the shear amount of legal paperwork on top of the normal paper work we must do to protect ourselves. We pursue this legislation not to just pursue marriage but also to protect ourselves if that marriage also does not last.

"I'm trying to leverage the vote to get something for my constituents," she said... hey Jill, guess what, those constituents include a lot of families headed by same sex couples who have been waiting for years to get the same legal protections that others get. There have been many "presumptive joint custody" bills before the Maryland legislature over the years -- it's not like this issue hasn't been looked at time and again. There will also be budget disputes and funding issues all the time. While she may be personally more passionate about some of these other issues, that doesn't allow her to hold the bill hostage until she gets her way.



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This could have been taken care of and out of the way very quickly so we could get to other very important issues but instead it's going to be dragged out into some longwinded struggle......great.

Loren Kusy-

If having or not having children constitutes a reason for marriage then what do you make of marriages that do not result in children because the parties involved do not want children? How about infertile husbands or wives? People who want to adopt instead of bringing another life into the world but don't have the means to do so? Are these people any less deserving of marriage and the rights/privileges that come along with it?

I am in a loving same sex relationship and we will have children regardless of our marital status. We will continue to love each other no matter what anyone says. We will pay the sky high property taxes on our Baltimore City row home together even if we can't be legally wed. We will hold hands in the street. WE WILL CARRY ON. It is only a matter of time.

I wish you and your family the best of luck and a happy life. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You deserve it. We ALL deserve it.

Del Carter will definitely pay for her bribe-style politics. Marylanders will remember her!

Anti-HETROSEXALS marriage haters. “Suck it up!
Lesbians and gays of MARYLAND STATE you can NEVER, ever change the natural laws of nature, no matter what relationships your into. No law makers can change the zodiac or horoscope. Stop trying to change Gods law of marriage, family, mother, father, grand-parents, child, niece, uncle, auant. Ect. The marriage laws belong to God. Let no man put a sunder. The state of California tried it. That state got pure bad luck, and repented of that bill, error. Financial issues, earthquake, fire , floods. Why? The state of California get bad luck, because of gay union bill in California, USA. Salt.
HATERS of heterosexual marriages, traditions, thousands of years of culture.
law makers be aware of the destruction of the national symbol of the U.S eagle. This bird symbolizes the union of a female bird with a male bird. This unions last a life time of strength, dignity, production, repro-duction of new babies of birds. This bird symbolizes United States of America. Will law makers have two men have anal sex, sucking each other out the new symbol?
A simple male and female union of a two horses create more financial growth than two gay men co-habitating together.
The horses mates. The very manure, turns into soil. God is the sun, air, and elements. The soil grows food. The food is farmed. The food is sold by a farmer. The male farmer and his wife sells the food and pays taxes. From taxes you get churches, schools and school children.
Abominable, discussing homosexuals do not create anything. I have a religious right not to agree with the Catholic Chrch, and Johovah witness, and the consciousness not to agree a so called homosexual unions. Remember the manure theory.
Law Makers:
Nothing can stop you from the court houses of family incest issues and court cases. There are thousands of orphans camps in this left from Aids, hiv, because of the discussing activies of homosexuality that started in 1987. The gay men are on the wall of old Berlin, the lesbians are on the dream episode wall of Gormorrah. All drop dead. Ghost town episodes. Salt.
Prime examples "Mommy is a lesbian and wants to marry her lesbian daughter. "Daddy John of Baltimore City is s.o.b gay who want to marry his nephew because it’s "loving" him. My male neighbor wants to marry the pit-bull dog because he is sleeping with him, “loving him.”
LAW MAKERS stop the madness before it begins. Ant-hetrosexals against the male and female natural law cleaves, should not have to fund these un-eventful predicted court costs. T

One Flesh

One Flesh you do not appreciate the complexity of the human mind, nor do you appreciate that we live in a free country.

The human mind is capable of intellect, socialization, and occasionally, alternative orientation, for whatever reason.

And the fact we live in a free country means people with those minds have the same right to expression and happiness as we do.

Make room O.F. Quit hogging the public legal system. It does not belong to a bunch of Christians and hateful, politically right Christians at that.

I love a free country even when it doesn't go my way....

Ya'll haters seem to think you can extinguish the rights of the minority just because you don't like them.

People with disabilities are a minority too. Why not ***** them too? Huh? Especially those autistic kids who keep getting bullied all the time to the point of suicide?

Funny how the people who give garbage to the gays also give garbage to the special ed kids too? It is enough to suggest that gays and people with disabilities ought to be natural allies.

Patricia, the HIV virus can infect anyone. What people do to protect themselves is get screened before marriage and then stay faithful. Of course it is preferable to abstain before marriage than to use a condom.

There are ways to prevent becoming infected, too, is what I am trying to suggest. Not being promiscuous. Being faithful, honest, trust....

What works for straights also works for them.

There is more than one way to do it... no rectum involved.

Where there is a will there is a way....

Open your mind, lady.

-Master's in sociology (open mind)

I have question. Do the people who accept civil union but oppose marriage do so because it conjures up religious overtones? Do they define marriage as always involving God and is God their objection, then?

I do not think the definition of marriage necessarily includes religion or God. I heard of a M.A.-educated woman who married her husband in a magistrate's office- then had their own ceremony, God or representative not invited, they invited me, wrote their own vows.

I know it is possible to be married via magistrate or secular official- God does not have to be present. There is your civil union.

I was at other weddings when God's representative did preside (the Baptist two-candles-one-candle ceremony).

Now, I don't believe the LORD of the universe is going to yield on the gay marriage issue, or can yield. I think He made that clear in His writings.

Fortunately, the law can evolve in ways religion can not, and this is a free country based on liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Most people who claim to be religious are probably superficial. The road to destruction is wide, the road to life is narrow.

So let's have it. Is the opposition to GM based on terminology and a definition, a misunderstanding, maybe?

Incidentally this was WV 16 years ago so she married a man. And I am happy to say they are still married....

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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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