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March 4, 2011

House committee passes same-sex marriage bill

The House Judiciary Committee has voted 12-10 to pass the same-sex marriage bill, sending it to the full House of Delegates. The 141-member chamber is expected take up debate as early as next week.

Del. Tiffany Alston, who had signed on to the bill as a sponsor but wavered and walked out on a planned vote earlier this week, voted against it. Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr., a Democrat who does not support same-sex marriage, saved the legislation by voting to send it to the full House.

Before the final vote, Alston, a Prince George's County Democrat, attemped to amend the bill to establish civil unions instead of same-sex marriage. The effort drew praise from Republicans on the committee, but cricitism from her fellow Democrats. It failed.

Del. Jill Carter, the other holdout earlier this week, voted for the bill. The Baltimore Democrat supports same-sex marriage, but said she wanted to draw attention to education funding in Baltimore and her own legislation on child custody in divorce cases.

The bill's ride through the House already has been rockier than its passage in the Senate last week, raising new questions about its prospects in the full chamber. The House is expected to take up the debate next week, potentially the entire week.

Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he will sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Thanks to Julie Bykowicz, reporting from Annapolis.

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 2:18 PM | | Comments (81)
Categories: Same-Sex Marriage


Let's hope no other Delegate holds it hostage now.

If you campaign and win on a pro-gay marriage stance, vote that way regardless of the makeup of your district, because you really only draw negative attention to yourself by wavering or reversing.

Even if a Delegate personally is against gay marriage, as a public servant they have a duty not imposing one person's religion on another person!

The Constitution of Maryland requires that everyone shares in the benefits of the laws. Harming gay families and their children by not letting them have the benefit of the laws is wrong.

Everything law that straight people get, gay families should get. It is really that simple.

And there is no evidence that straight marriages are harmed on little bit by gay families.

Bravo judiciary committee!!!!!

Where is Vallario's integrity? Votes for a bill that he is against. Guess he learned from John Kerry. What kind of representative government is that? Oh, I forgot, we are in Maryland.

I think more thanks should go to Chairman Vallario who showed the kind of integrity we ought to expect from our leaders. He knew the bill was important enough to warrant real and complete debate and so he put his personal interests aside to ensure that happened. I disagree with his position on the matter, but commend him on his actions.

The Gay vote is so important that is holding the legislative body hostage to impose their immoral behavior on what is left of a moral society. How can a man be married to a man, or a woman be married to a woman, neither sex can pro-create without the opposite being involved? It is an abomination. In other words if God had not created a man & a women, none of us would be here to even discuss this matter. Maryland is under an immoral siege, just think what's next. America is going to hell in a hand basket.
This Democrat just became a non voter.

Vallario might have faced an effort from his fellow Democrats to take his Chairmanship away had he used his vote to kill the bill. That's less likely to happen now, even if he votes no in the final House vote.

This is the most confusing thing ever. Now it has to wait another week for the full house.

This is crazy. I am sure that "NOM" is already filling the pockets of every delegate they can get to vote NO next week.

Come on Maryland do the right thing and be on the right side of history. Vote Yes for gay marriage now.

Since my family first settled in MD in 1732 and being a long time's appauling these Democrats didn't follow the party line or the party platform. I say Alston pack your fake Gucci handbag and luggage and go back to the ignorant hateful hood that you crawled out of! Your days in politics are over...BYE BYE ALSTON!

I am cautiously optimistic. It pains me that someone's personal religious beliefs can deny many Marylander's their basic civil rights. For Tiffany Alston to say all people should be treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation and then vote the way she did saddens me deeply. She through out her constitutional obligations for her personal beliefs. As glad as I am that we one this round, I am saddened by some of the people who represent Maryland.

Irene: Funny how you think that our constitution that ensure seperation from chruch and state should not play into this. This is a civil matter, not a religious one.

I'm really disappointed and saddened by Delegate Alston's 180 here. The plain and clear message of the statement she released two days ago was that she believed this was a civil right's issue and that she believed in the fundamental right of same sex couples to wed. How can you say that, and then vote against the measure you sponsored that would codify that right? (And the legislature has to do it, because the Court of Appeals punted). From the outside looking in, it certainly appears that she just caved to outside anti-equality pressure. I never thought I'd say it, but I have more respect for religious bigots who at least stand firm by their prejudices. I thank Arora for his qualified yes, although I wouldn't be in the position to do anything about it when he's up for re-election if suffrage had been put to popular vote. So quick now to want to leave other minority's civil rights in the hands of the majority.

@Irene: This has nothing to do with God. My partner and I have no desire to get married in your homophobic church. We want full legal protection for our family from the state. Get your Christian hands off our civil rights.

Thanks for your comment Irene. I'm glad Westboro Baptist Church had a representative weigh in on this issue......

Also, glad to hear you aren't voting. When you ask such elementary questions like that, it makes me nervous as to who is putting votes in our ballot boxes.

Vallario is a real and honest delegate in the Maryland House. He only voted for the bill because he believes it is a matter that should be brought upon the entire legislature know that it passed the Maryland Senate.
Talking about integrity where is delegate's Alston INTEGRITY? probably left it at home before leaving her house. There is no logical reason to have a bill cosponsored and then vote against it. What kind of Politics is she playing?

The gay marriage bill will not pass in the house! I am confident in that. And if it does pass, the voters will ultimately decide its fate in the 2012 elections! And the voters will vote down this bill because marriage is between a MAN AND WOMAN! PERIOD!


Even assuming the worst about Vallario's vote (he did it to keep his job), I still commend him.

Vallario has shown his willingness to make a (controversial) stand on an issue because of his personal beliefs.

Here, he has at least realized that keeping rights from gay Marylanders is not the most important issue of our time.

I never thought I'd say this, but he has shown way more integrity than Tiffany Alston.

@ Marc--good join the Tea Party because your morals and values have very little in common with the DNC. You are in fact very small minded, lack real intelligence and have some batshit crazy ideas of what America is about. If for one minute you think the gays are ruining marriage than take a good look at what you straights have doen to marriage in the last century. you obviously have little respect for your fellow man let alone yourself. Your introduction of GAD in this conversation is outrageous as you are attempting to injection religion into the civil laws and rights of others. Now go back to your little rat hole and think for one minute!

Just a reminder on both sides of this debate that there are many "open and affirming" Christians--myself included--that support same sex marriage rights.

To those trying to make this an issue of religious freedom: I am a church-going Unitarian Universalist, and my religion fully supports and endorses gay marriage. Where's my religious freedom?


Why does it matter if gays have the right to get married. Now a days Marriage and Religion are not tied together. There is a thing called a civil union. My wife and I had one. I think two gay people should be with in their rights to have a marriage and be entitled to all the same benefits that my wife and I are entitled to.

Send this LIAR an email. After she walked out earlier in the week, she was bombarded with negative emails from those in favor of gay marriage. She was so upset about the negative press, that she sent out an email to all stating,

"From the beginning of my campaign I have told the people that elected me that I personally supported the same sex couple’s right to marry. I believe all people should be treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation."

She let her church and the religious right scare her into voting against her conscience. She should be ashamed to have lead the gay community into thinking she actually cared about the equal treatment of ALL people regardless of their sexual orientation.

What a liar. All those black gay men in her church who are on the down out.

Dear so-called "Christians",

Imposing your personal religion onto everyone else in order deny human beings civil rights is NOT what Jesus would do.

You should be ashamed of yourselves for working against both the Constitution, and simply decency.

How sad that anyone thinks their personal chosen religious beliefs (yes, religion is a CHOICE) are grounds for standing in the way of other people's civil rights. Those spewing religious arguments against same-sex marriage clearly have a very poor grasp of the Constitution and the concept of religious freedom. Freedom of religion does not include the right to shove your beliefs down other people's throats.

My wife and I have been happily married
for more than 30 years - Am a grandfather now. If two gay people can find that happiness why should anyone stand in their way.

The real question is why is the government involved at all in this. Privitize marriage and let consenting adults do what they want and let the churches decide which marriages they want to bless. Please read for a great discussion

Delegate Alston,

Shame on you.

Earlier this week, I wrote an impassioned email asking you to return to the House and to vote for the same-sex marriage bill as you had earlier promised you would do.

Several hours later, I, like 1000s of other Marylanders, read your post in which you stated,

"From the beginning of my campaign, I have told the people that elected me that I personally supported the same sex couple’s right to marry. I believe all people should be treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation."

What happened? Who got to you? Who scared you?

Today you turned your back on us and ran for the cover of your religion.

Shame on you.

To vote against even allowing the bill to move to the floor.

Shame on you.

You further wrote in that same email...

"There are several fundamental rights that shape this debate: a fundamental freedom to express yourself; a fundamental right to pursue happiness; and just as important if not more important a fundamental right to religious freedom."

The 1st amendment to the US Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Nowhere does it say that elected officials have the right to impose their religious beliefs on others.

Religious freedom? Are trying to suggest that the religious beliefs/"freedom" held by you or others should play any part in your decision concerning the right of a Maryland man to marry another Maryland man in the eyes of the LAW? NOT the eyes of the church...this is simply NOT a church issue, it is a legal issue. In fact, the legislation exempts any and all churches, mosques, temples, etc. from performing same-sex marriages if they so choose to discriminate! Are you saying that this is not a civil or human rights issue? Gay men and women simply want the same legal rights associated with the legal status of marriage as granted to opposite sex couples. Religion does not and should not have any role here.

Shame on you!

Thankfully, 12 other courageous House members voted to allow the bill to go to the floor for debate.

From what I read, you allowed your church and your "religion" to scare you into voting against your own conscience. Who from your church bullied you into this vote?

Shame on you!

You should be ashamed to have lead the gay community into thinking you actually cared about the equal treatment of ALL people regardless of their sexual orientation. What a liar.


Next time you go campaigning, please do not tell "the people that (sic...who) elected me that I personally supported the same sex couple’s right to marry." Because that would be yet another lie.



Congrats on your 30 years of marriage and being a grandfather. You are a class act and I thank you for being an intelligent man of a different generation!

It's really sad how the liberals are catering to the gays for this sick gay marriage. Listen folks marriage was ordained and sanctified by God our father in heaven yrs ago! Marriage is a union for a man and woman to procreate to have children, etc. No where in the bible mentions gays to marry. Gays can't procreate and its an abomination! PERIOD! The gays are allowing other demonic stuff to come into the fruition, such as; polygamists, beastility, incest, etc. They can say they want marital rights too! I better not see one gay person object to the other sick lifestyles, because the gay lifestyle is wrong and no children should be getting educated on how two men or two women making out. SICK!!

Irene God bless you because you are so correct in your analysis! The vote has 58 co sponsors and it needs 71 for passage. I hear a lot of delegates are reconsidering their votes on the bill and i hope the voters get the referendum in the 2012 elections, because just like in california, the voters will no doubt vote against the homosexuals gay marriage bill.

@ Kevin would you support a provision to law allowing clerks to opt out of fulfilling the license request if another clerk can do it?

@ Barrie

Names are attributed below, not above, our comments. Your anger is a bit misplaced on this one...

Just about every comment in here just exposes your ignorance and bigotry. You're just pilfering up garbage that you've been indoctrinated with. You obviously have yet to think a critical thought.

Right and wrong have not moved ever. Homosexuality is sexual debauchery. There is no good to society that can come from it, what so ever. Since when does the hijacking of the word “tolerance” or “co-exist” become “agree with our lies and deception and your opposing viewpoints are to be vilified” ? Right and wrong still hasn't moved. The lake of fire is still there... waiting...

Your religion of civil-newWave-agnostic-anything-goes / zero-tolerance of truth or the Holy Bible is still a religion. Separation of church and state is pure ignorance, because the state is a religion.

God doesn't care about state nor religion. God cares about truth and His creation. If you think you can create the State of Sodom, think again. It's called raining fire.

You can stick your head in the sand and think your “state” will save you and buy you free gifts and give you money for nothing – but when the looming prophecies start “raining down”, your state will be more interested in warlording than giving you free gifts.

Wow Alston voted against. Thank you Jill Carter. Despite your shenanigans you will be rewarded with being on the right side of history and won't be ashamed to tell your great grandchildren what you were a part of. Delegate Alston, though maybe looking good now to a few hateful, narrow-minded people, is being so very short-sighted. She'll be on Oprah (or the equivalent) in 10 years explaining how horrible she feels for her vote but it was just the times we were living in then. Great that we are moving forward!! Now the hard work to explain to everyone (including Sam Arora and O'Malley) that people should not get to vote on the civil rights of others. Some people have such a hard time intellectually understanding the danger of that. Get out of your narrow minds and you'll get there. Hypothetical 1: Do you think it's fair to let the people vote on whether Jews can marry Christians? Hypothetical 2: Imagine we are 50 years into the future and Muslims have fled the Middle East to the US and we are majority Muslim. Do you want Muslims to be able to vote on whether Christians should be able to marry or decide how they should marry? Or it come to a popular vote as to whether women have to wear burkas?

You cant help with who you fall in love. I remember when it was not morally right for the races to mix was wrong for black man marry a white women etc but they did and they still do. No one should be able to tell you who you can or cant marry. JUST DEAL WITH YOU HIPPOCRITS

so God sends you presents? guess I was asleep that day in the convent. Czar, you're a tool.

Hey, I want to marry my dog. When is it my turn for equal rights love!

There is an old song called "Goodnight Irene." I am slightly changing the lyrics here: Good night ,Irene, I'll see you in my nightmares."

Irene, and the other no-nothings who have posted here: your religion should not be used to bludgeon my civil rights. Follow your works of fiction all you like. I won't stand in your way. But please keep your bigoted ideas and hateful attitudes away from the law and Constitution. The Constitution specifically provides that religion and the affairs of the state should not be tied up together,

To Tiffany "traitor " Alston: I have held my tongue for weeks but I am sick and tired of black elected officials being "run" by their churches. News flash -- your voters elected YOU, not your pastors who bought their degrees from some southern diploma mills. Use your brain, not the Bible when you make decisions on behalf of your constituents. I will do everything I can to make sure you are un-elected in the next cycle.

I don't know why there is all of this drama. It's Maryland, this thing is going to pass because of the political environment here, was it ever in doubt? If they are really concerned about people's "civil rights" they will legalize polygamy. Not the Warren Jeffs type, but the consenting adults kind. However many you want, in whatever combination. I'm not going to hold my breath, since there is no polygamy lobby. There just aren't enough votes in it for the politicians. Isn't limiting marriage to two people still based in "religious" beliefs?

I am a Christian in every sense of the word. I believe in JESUS CHRIST for his love, compassion, and teachings. I also believe he died for us.

I am also a middle of the road for voter who would describe myself as a liberal republican. I find some of the choices made by the Democrats in this state to be inconsistent and insincere. This state needs a more active two party system.

Having said all of that, I was taught to be kind to all people and respectful of their beliefs. My education taught me how horribly unequal others who were not white, heterosexual male landowners were treated in this country. At various times in our history, we have recognized the rights of others. The issues here are not moral but rather simply legal ones. The time has come to set aside our prejudices and allow people to ALL have the same basic rights.

To all you people who want to take away our right to be free and to be who ever we truly are, "go to hell"! Who gave anyone the right to invade my private life is beyond me. No one has the right to take away a persons' dignity. If you don't like who I am or who I want to spend the rest of my life with, then turn your head. It's my life and I will live it the way I see fit. Maybe we should take away all federal rights from everyone. I mean , that is definately one way to make it equal across the board. Better yet, Lets take away the right to marry altogether. because then, the suppose to be straight people will not have to go behind their spouses back to have a fling with a trannie or better yet they won't feel so guilty about letting someone of the same sex blow them. Lets not forget about the suppose to be priest who , on the side, have flings with their little alter boys. Lets not forget about all the divorces straight people go through just because they just so called realized they were gay- when they actually knew all along. Scoiety has placed guilt in the gay community for so ling that even some gay people were scared to come out of the closet. Is it fair that a person who is gay marry someone of the opposite sex just to fit in to socities expectations of how they are suppose to be. When are we going to stop the hate and learn to tolerate? Its a crime to have to hide who you really are or not to be accepted as an American fully.
So , sit down haters because the Gays are rising and we will not sit back anymore while you people try to keep us as second class citizens. Remember ; we are your physicians, lawyers, taeachers, judges, political members, police, firemen, vets, actors , janitors, & the list goes on. DO you get it yet? We will win this fight. Like it or Not! We are people that were created equal.
We want our marrige rights and we will not stop until we get them! We Promise! FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT for our right

Equal rights now!

Relax, Honorable Tiffany T. Alston,
Delegate, District 24, You did the right thing in voting against the same sex
marriage legislation going to the House
Floor. I applaud you!

Definitely a step in the right direction!

@Irene and all others who feel that allowing a same sex couple to appreciate all the rights and privileges that you and your husband take for granted every day will some how lead to beastiality and polygamy: I suppose as soon as you pass the natural age for reproduction, your marriages should be absolved. My aunt never had children because she was "barren" (that's a biblical term for all of you who are just dying to quote it.) I suppose since they knew this was the case before she married my uncle that they the State shouldn't have issued them a marriage license. And of course the RC Church in which they were married should have sent them packing. By the way, I grew up reading the Bible too. I was raised in a devout Catholic household. And guess what, even two faithful Christians produced a gay daughter. Amazing.

@Jim - actually there are plenty of poligimists in the Bible and in religious sects. The limiting of marriage to two people is generally thought, IMO, to keep women from being abused. Most people think of a man with 10 wives as along the lines of slavery. Which it often was in, ironically, the Bible where it is talked about without negative conotation regularly.

I am an educated woman. I work a full time job and support my family. I don't litter. I've never even had a speeding ticket. I've been in a wonderful, committed relationship for 6 years now. Together, we are raising two beautiful daughters who both participate in sports, volunteer in the community and are straight-A students. We've raised them to show compassion for others and treat people the way they want to be treated. Oh, by the way, my partner and I are gay. But I can see how we are morally corrupting society and destroying the world here. (That was sarcasm, by the way.) It saddens me to see so many pushing their religious beliefs on others, in the name of morality, when this is a basic civil rights issue. I hope when and if the government decides to interfere with your religious freedoms, people have more compassion for your rights than you are showing for mine. I am a human being, not an animal.

To "Czar"

I am ashamed to have my name ( which is my REAL name) associated with a bigot like you, so I respectfully request that you pick another alias.

I support equal rights for all. I support gay marriage. Your Bible and peculiar religious beliefs should have no bearing upon the civil laws of this state.

Please go back under the rock from which you slithered.

@Stacy, Honestly, what's wrong with polygamy if everyone involved wants to live that way? If we are going to throw out the traditional definition of marriage, then it is only fair to allow polygamy. Marriages should not be limited to two people only. I believe limiting it to two people still has its roots in religious belief.

Sounds like pursuit of happiness issue to me for the proponents. And a denial of happiness issue to the opponents. What meanies.

I thought Waldorf was a little mean since I was in special ed. If this bill passes I will reconsider my perspective. Maybe people change.

God did make Adam and Eve. But Adam and Steve could have done the same thing Adam and Eve did. Do a search: The First Scandal.

As stated above, this is a political issue, not a religious one. And all the Christians on here should be thankful for that because our Christianity shouldnt be blended in or confused in any way with the corrupt world of politics. The Constitution protects all citizens, gay or not. And it is better left that way because it is not a politicians job to decide some things. Topics like this are better left in Gods hand. Being new to the Christian faith and having known so many homosexuals in my life, this has been a difficult topic for me. But I have come to this realizaton....God gave us the ability to choose for a reason...Without choice there can be no love. Do I believe that gays will ultimately go to hell for their sin? Yes I do....But when the Rapture takes place and all of Gods people join Him, I believe He wants the people who join Him to join him for the right reasons...because they chose to live by Gods word and obey Him...If He just made everyone a drone that just followed orders and obeyed His command, then there would be nothing genuine about the people that do get taken away in the Rapture. We as Christians sometimes find it hard to remember that it is not our job to judge...thats why we have such a bad name, becuase of so many Christian people that are quick to judge. Thats a big part of the reason it took me so long to come to God..We should educate people on the Word and let people make their own choices as God intended...He will take care of the rest.

I have sympathy for gay people. The legal system is not accessible to them right now. The marriage process in Christianity is not accessible either. It might as well be a disability/accommodation issue. That might be the perfect description.

I don't expect a lot of Christians whose opposite sex spouses practically arrived on schedule to have much sympathy for people who will be lonely under the old law. College friends married (still married in fact) as young as a guy at 22 or a woman at 23? I am 41 next month. It requires someone who understands loneliness to understand what someone else might feel if a government or a god takes love or marriage away from a person for whatever reason.

The legal system can be changed. The religion cannot. God gets to make whatever call He wants. We will be told why in the end.

Good post, Will.

god this god that. if god gave a hoot, the world wouldn't be in the state that it is.

People love to quote the Bible against same-sex marriage. Yet when I quote to them what else the Bible says about marriage, including the bits about concubines, sex slaves, and rape victims, those same people run screaming. Funny, that.

Sadly, some food for thought if you wish to follow Jesus. The 12 disciples left their families and wives behind.

Jesus promised to bring division, not peace. "If you aren't willing to leave [a family member] for Me, then you are not worthy to be My disciple."

My dad didn't like me the same, until his death, after I declared an so much as an interest in Christianity (the actual conversion was some years later). He believed Christianity is practice is a hostile religion, and guess what, he was generally historically right. My brother thinks I am nuts.

Giving up certain types of sex in the name of Jesus will probably cost you your relationship. Which do you choose?

John, we [can] blame Satan for the bad stuff. Maybe he is not as wise as God or just likes to cause misery.

Dualism at its finest....

We [can] believe things will get better when Jesus invades the world with a whole bunch of angels. There is no power on earth to stop Him. In the end times battle in Megiddo, blood flows as high as horse's bridles in an entire valley. Not good, but does show that He is unstoppable and mighty.

There is 1,000 years of peace until Satan tries one last rebellion, and then he and the antiChrist and false prophet go into hell forever.

The concubines and sex slaves and rape victims are in the Old Testament (Before the Common Era). Please note the paradigm shift in the New Testament. Not much is the same, except not to engage in sexual immorality, drinking blood, and eating some types of meat. Sorry.

House members will be selling their souls, just like the Prez did for the gay vote...We won't forget when its time for re-election!!!

These know-it-all religious people (whether they have an official title or not) make me sick. Fortunately, none of us are required to get married in a church or subscribe to anyone else's religious views (which are purely a matter of opinion). The world doesn't have to run on their narrow-minded religious schedule.
Churches (and religious entities in general) can marry or not marry whoever they want. Fortunately, some of them are not consumed by bigotry and are willing to marry any two consenting adults of whatever gender. Anybody who automatically salutes whatever dictate from on high has to have a pretty weak mind. The rest of us are intelligent enough to make our own choices.
I'll take separation of church and state every day of the week over the opposite.

@ Jane (you ignorant sl*t!)

You state in your flimsy argument that marriage is the sole domain of heterosexual couples based on the fact that they procreate. How about those heterosexual couples that cannot or will not have children, like your Newtie gingrich (who by the way stained the institution of marriage by repeatedly screwing around with other women while married)? How about those marriages where the husband has had a vasectomy? Or the woman who has had a hysterectomy and can no longer have children? What then? Should they be forced to get a divorce (in cases where they are already married) or prohibited from getting married? By your warped logic, these people are no longer fit to be married.

Also consider this: Why, in most cases, do people get married in a church but not divorced in one? Because divorce happens in a secular court, and not in a religious institution, like a church, one can conclude that marriage is a legally binding secular contract, and religion only is a vehicle in which to initiate this secular legal contract.

I personally am a very proud athiest, and I want NOTHING to do with your religion and your religion's hatred to anyone who does not share your hateful values. I have NO desire to be married in your church, but I DO demand, that as a tax-paying citizen, that I be treated as an equal-class citizen.

As a footnote: You people who use your religion to hate anyone else not just like you are jackbooted bully thugs, and the best way to handle thugs like you is to figuratively (and literally, if necessary) smash you in your collective mouths, and we'll see how fast you run crying. This progressive atheist has absolutely no fear of you.

As Dan Aykroyd so eloquently said to Jane Curtin all those lovely years ago...

Jane, you ignorant slut!

And Jane, you are all that and more. At some point in the not too distant future, this will all be decided in the courts, not the ballot box. The unfortunate problem with allowing the majority to vote away the rights of the minority is that the practice is morally corrupt. Jane, you ignorant slut, you do know about moral corruption, don't you?

When only men had the right to vote (they were the voting majority) they never went to the polls and voted to give women the right to vote, now did they? No, a brave MINORITY of legislators drafted a law granting this right to women. The courts (another small minority of the population) voted to uphold that law.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the US that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S. That Act was not VOTED IN by the majority in a national election. Know why? Because the majority at the time would NEVER have allowed the law to stand. A brave MINORITY group of legislators backed by an even smaller MINORITY in the courts, made it so.

This is a screwed up country in many ways. However, it is a democracy crafted by some pretty smart people who even 235 years ago knew that you could not allow the majority to decide every single law and right of the minority.

Jane, you ignorant slut, wise up! Read a book or two OTHER THAN THE BIBLE, and learn how things work in the good ole US of A. Maryland is not California. And even IF the religious zealots and homophobes, and Black men on the down low vote to discriminate and strike down a MD law, eventually the Supremes will step in as they have so many times in our history, and smack down the simpleton majority.

GOD I LOVE THIS COUNTRY! And He loves gay me. WWJD? He would officiate at my Gay wedding!

Homework: Review the differences between a Theocracy v. Democracy.

I wonder how the happy self-proclaimed Christians who are happy about denying civil rights based on religion will feel when people of other faiths start doing the same based on other faiths?

Let us seperate church and state. Let us unify and give our fellow man equal rights.

--It's the Christian thing to do.

The arguments against the gay marriage bill shouldn’t be just the religious implications. In fact that argument could make some decide to support the bill since they may be concerned about the separation of church and state, etc.. In fact, all the arguments I have seen or heard so far don’t seem to really address the real issue.

Marriage being just between man and woman comes down to one simple point-biology. Traditional marriage is what it is since without it, where would we be. Survival of the species depends on what nature has provided. Birds do it, bees do it, and we do it. Now one doesn’t have to be married to carry on your genes but it does tend to keep society happy. Could be one reason marriage has been protected for so many years.

Now if someone prefers to love and spend their life with someone of the same sex, shouldn’t they have the same benefits that are available to married couples? Whether it’s for medical or financial considerations, this does need to be addressed. But why call this lifestyle choice marriage? Why is there the need to legalize this lifestyle choice under the marriage moniker? So far I haven’t heard any compelling reasons as to why. Traditional marriage is also a lifestyle choice but one that has reasons and results beyond just the medical or financial. Marriage has been defined for years long before man had any laws or government. Man is just following what nature has known.

Funny - everyone is criticizing everyone else for stepping on their toes - gays use nasty language to tell Christains to stop shoving their religion down their throats (it would be TOO easy to make a hoke their) and the Christians cite Biblical evidence that God does not approve of gay marriage. One poster in the gay group called a poster on the Christian side a hypocrite; the Christians keep on citing the Bible in peaceful, loving language (loving because they're trying to save the gays from an eternity in the lake of fire`. So it seems to me that the gay side are hyprocrites too.

And how is gay marriage a civil right? I have read the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, 1968 and 1991 and NOWHERE did I find a reference to a "civil right" for gays to marry.

(@LonelyRepublican)For the record, Lonely Republican, I too am a Christian in every sense of the word. I believe in JESUS CHRIST for his love, compassion, and teachings. I also believe he died for us.

I am also a middle of the road voter but would describe myself as a conservative Democrat. I find some of the choices made by the Republicans in this state to be inconsistent and insincere. You are right, this state needs a more active two party system.

Having said all of that, I too was taught to be kind to all people and respectful of their beliefs. And you shouldn't feel so lonely, LonelyRepublican. I do believe you are in good company--even if it's not that of your own party. But I wouldn't be surprised to hear there are more Republicans out there who are in your boat., but without the courage to make these same announcements. I commend you for yours.

Finally, I want everyone on this forum to know that not all homosexuals are athiest or even agnostic. They are Christians too. Church going, people, who just may sit next to you in your pew on Sundays. Forgive me for not losing my faith that even those hate-filled believers will some day either have a gay son or daughter or a lesbian doctor or gay organ donor or a gay teacher "save" them from their thoughts that MY JESUS is not the same as theirs. If He's crying now, it's because He doesn't want His name cited to reason hate. And I know He's saddened by the fact that so many of His children have been chased away from their churches where they once felt safe and at home. But that's not what this is all about folks. This IS about CIVIL rights and protections.

@navpooh: Seriously, navpooh? You're going there? That's what all of this is about. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. You are absolutely right! There is no mention of gays having any civil rights. If that was already written into any of the Civil Rights Acts, would we be having this conversation. And If you know your Maryland history, prior to 1967 interracial marriages were illegal. Do you know why? Because blacks lacked the civil rights of whites. Come on.

@DAve Webber: Let me try to answer your plea for a rationale to the use of the "term" marriage for what it is that is being sought after. The list is too long for purposes of posting here, but stop to think how many things that you or one-half of a legally married couple (assuming you are married or know someone who is) appreciate on a daily basis without thought. For example, the fact that your spouse can be a co-title holder on a vehicle for appreication of an auto policy multi-car discount. I bet you don't even know what it takes to add a "NON-RELATED" person to your car title. How about the fact that SPOUSES of most major airline employees fly free. Don't mistake my use of these two "minor" examples as a minimization of the importance of this bill. I've opted to use these two examples to indicate just how many "little" things there are that married couples take for granted. The list of these types of things goes on and on. Or how about the fact that all of the State's laws and the statutes within private organizations are already written to include the husband or wife as "next-of-kin" or "dependents" or beneficiaries. Why should a gay individual have no option to appreciate these things? Why should all of the laws have to be re-written (talk about a waste of time and taxpayer money) to incorporate them as if they are lesser or different in any way, for that matter, than a spouse. Civil union is not the verbiage used from a legal perspective, although, that is in fact exactly what the State views even same sex marriages. However, laws and statutes are not written that way. I could go on, but I hope that this may get the gears turning.

Is rectum fornacation legal in Maryland?

@calven...I wouldn't worry too much about it. If "rectum fornacation" is what you're into, go for it. I'm sure the state troopers won't be beating down your door to catch you in the act and give you a ticket for it.

I just don't get all this same sex marriage brouhaha... I mean... Really!

If you're not sleeping with someone why do you care who they're sleeping with ... at night ... behind closed doors ... in the privacy of their own homes ... while you're sleeping with your own preferred partner ??

All this law and politics sticking it's nose into other people's sexual affairs and games seems to me to be ... macabre. And rather sick.

GREAT POINT NAVPOO! You are so correct in your anaylysis! To the fool who called me a slute, well if i am a slut, then you are a gay sick ass perveted bi&ch a@@ loser fool! First of all the holy bible condemns gay activities. Second of all, being gay is not a civil rights issue, no one is sicking dogs on you, no one is hanging you, no one is preventing you to going to a public restroom or restaurants. You and the gays used this nonsense about civil rights, its just foolish and stupid! Marriage is between a MAN AND WOMAN! PERIOD! And lastly, how the hell did you get here on earth, from a MAN AND WOMAN, you idiot!!! If God meant for adam to be with steve, then none of us will be here today you SLUT GAY FOOL!!!

Gays are some sick, demonic ppl on the face of the earth! The bill will be voted down and or the ppl of md will vote on the measure and overwhemingly they will oppose this same sex marriage bill! If the ppl in california spoke out against the bill about 7 or 8 times, the ppl here in md will do the same and put this issue to rest!

Well at least Delegate Alston stuck to her guns and actually voted against a measure that is extremely unpopular in the African American communities she represents! Delegate Carter will have to answer to black and Jewish voters for her support of the measure, though it will unlikely mean anything as she is consistently the 41st districts top vote getter, and has gained greater respect and admiration from those such as myself for taking an original stance on this issue to highlight real civil rights issues facing blacks consistently for years never addressed or fast tracked by the Democratic leadership?! Congrats! However she should have followed thru with her threats and voted the bill down in committee!!?

Jane, you are so right! The holy bible does condemn gay activities. God said it was an abomination. I agree with you 100%!

On a side note, do you eat crab cakes, Jane? They're so tasty, especially with little filler. I like the ones from Faidley's. Oh - did you know the same book in the Good Book calls shellfish an "abomination" too? Hope you don't eat crabcakes or shrimp, you might as well be eating a girl out!

The same book also says cutting your hair is against god, wearing blended fabrics is against god, slavery is allowed (as long as you buy them from neighboring nations) and that women - when menstruating - are UNHOLY AND NOT TO BE TOUCHED. Oh, and unless you have perfect vision (i.e. don't wear glasses) you cannot approach the altar of god.

The bible is full of flaws. If it was SUCH a big offense to be gay, don't you think Jesus would have mentioned it to a group of 12 guys living together?? He didn't. And also - this is America, where we have this thing called a constitution - read the first and 14th amendments.

And this IS a civil rights issue. Gays get made fun of, beat down, even tied to a fence and killed. Yes, we got here because of a man and woman. This law does not mean YOU have to marry a woman and everyone must be gay - it is about protecting the one you love in the event of your death. How would you like to pay a 40% inheritance tax on your husband's assets should he die before you?

MARRIAGE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH GOD. Holy Matrimony has to do with God. Marriage is a legal term - hence the ability for 2 atheists to walk into a courthouse and come out married.

sorry to give you a technicality Joe Smith, but Paul said anything in the meat market was all right to eat, because the Earth was God's and everything in it.

Shellfish, shrimp, pig.
Yeah, I eat sausage on pizza, but shrimp sometimes gives me a bellyache.

A lot of the Mosiac sins in the Pentauch disappeared in the New Testament. Except sexual immorality. Well, nothing's perfect is it?

Hey, I would have done it by now (with a woman) if I could. The Bible restricts just about everyone.

Chris, you're missing my point. Jesus said NOTHING about it in the Gospels. Regardless of the biblical thing, we live in America. We have separation of church and state. Having laws based on religion is NO BETTER THAN THE TALIBAN

Joe, Jesus also said He did not come to destroy the Law (of Moses, which includes the harsh measures against gay sex) but to fulfill it.

Stacy, just a reminder that anyone who seeks to live a life in Jesus Christ, whether gay or straight, has to follow certain rules in the Bible.

Both are restricted to but one opposite sex spouse at a time, which may not be terminated except for marital unfaithfulness on the other's part.

There is no provision for a same sex spouse for a gay Christian. If I thought waiting until my forties to find the right girl was bad enough, that must be worse- no hope of earthly love.

I love you jane! You are so correct! And joe smith you are not funny, you are a stupid idiot! Gay ppl are sinners just like the polygamist, beastility, incest, murderers, etc. The lists goes on and on! Stop trying to rationlize with the gays, etc. Is it something about being gay you like so much?? What turns you on about two gay men and two gay women that excites you?? Why don't you do the right thing and get a life and get a woman to be happy with. Marriage is ordained by God and that is the bottom line you fool!

"Where is Vallario's integrity? Votes for a bill that he is against. Guess he learned from John Kerry. What kind of representative government is that? Oh, I forgot, we are in Maryland."

Where is Del. Alston's integrity? Not only did she campaign saying she would support it... She PUT HER NAME on it (ie: co-sponsorship). Then, she votes against it. If I was a resident in her district, I would question whether I would vote for her in future elections regardless of what my stance is on gay marriage. She can't be trusted. She blatenlty liked.

She just gave BIG fuel to any opponent she might have in the next election...votes against a bill she co-sponsors. PG COUNTRY - Show some of your own integrity, FIRE THE BUM.

By the way joe smith, the 12 disciples living together with jesus were not gay. Where does it say in the bible that the 12 disciples were gay? Inquring minds want to know! Come on and smell the coffee, you are rationilizing again to make something that is wrong to be correct. Being gay is a choice and it is wrong! PERIOD!

"Marriage is ordained by God and that is the bottom line you fool!"

That is arrogant presumption. I for one would NEVER attempt to that. If it so "ordained by God, why aren't any other animals running to the alters to say "I do"? I'm really sick and tired of these holy roller "my way or the highway" attitudes" thinking they can speak for His Holiness. And you can continue to go about believing that if you want, but why should your beliefs be THE LAW OF THE LAND for everyone who does not subscribe to your interpretations of God's law? We all are sinners in the eyes of God and I hope he finds as much grace and forgiveness for you and he does for me.

@Anonymous: "Being gay is a choice and it is wrong!" is what you believe and that's ok. I, for one do not believe that. And in a state founded on religious tolerance, we should show more respect for other religions having different views.

Personally, I find solace in knowing that your belief will perish with your generation. After all, there were people in the slave trade who contended that black men had no souls. Mormons believed that black men actually did have souls but were cursed with the same black skin as the devil. THANK GOD those religious beliefs didn't become the law of the land.

I am tired of being attacked, robbed, and denied equal rights by heterosexual religious zealots who blame same-gender-loving people for their failed marriages. Last year, on January 27, 2010, I read a statement released by the Associated Press, quoting the founder of a family values think-tank who said (while testifying before the California Supreme Court) that rights of same-sex couples should come second to preserving the cherished social institution of marriage. You may have also noted that this year, President Obama is catching a fair amount of grief from theologically conservative African American pastors for his decision to no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans the recognition of same-sex marriage. Reverend Anthony Evans, who heads the National Black Church Initiative, recently lashed out at Obama, stating, "The president has harmed himself on this issue... He has openly offended the black church, and he didn't need to do it."

Most of my life, I have served in worship centers across America in one capacity or another, and I can tell you that what has eroded heterosexual marriages has nothing to do with a secret gay agenda and/or conspiracy spearheaded by evil men and women dressed in rainbow-hooded robes like the Ku Klux Klan in the '50 and '60s. I have decided to remain in the ranks, unlike many same-gender-loving men and women who have left the church because of crazy statements like these (heralded from pulpits across America) and attitudes that demean and demoralize them as individuals. So I know first-hand that the reason Bishop so-and-so and Prophetess so-and-so got divorced had absolutely nothing to do with my attraction to another man. I didn't live in their house! I did not attend their lavish wedding! I certainly didn't secretly carry on an illicit sexual affair behind the scenes with either of them. And I was not the confidant they confided in when things began to crumble in their marriages and the erotic flame burned out in their sex lives. Nor was I the person they sought when they made their decision to marry and needed marriage counseling, although after observing the horrific aftermath of their failed marriage, perhaps I should have been!

Melissa Etheridge made a profound statement when she questioned the U.S. government's right to extract taxes from her (a hard-working same-gender-loving U.S. Citizen), yet deny her the right to marry the person she loves. Well, this is not something that is new to me as an African-American. For years, this same so-called Democratic government has denied people of color across this great nation their equal rights, all the while working them to death to build their mansions, work on their plantations, prosper their businesses by stealing their inventions and creative ideas, and pad their financial portfolios. Then one day, a Black man by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from Atlanta, Georgia, got fed up and said "Enough"!!! Dr. King radically galvanized a generation in a time when everything was against them! People took to the streets with signs in hand - much like the LGBT community has done and began to demand what is due them as law-abiding, tax-paying citizens.

It was not an easy battle, change never is! This is something I learned as a Black youth growing up in Southeast Los Angeles. During this very era, many were left bleeding and decapitated as their dead bodies were left swinging from trees side to side, blown by the winds of hatred and discrimination, the result of being horribly disfigured and murdered. Some were maimed, having lost limbs like legs or arms and mothers kicked in the stomach - never again able to bear children after brutal beatings. But something in them kept them from turning back, even in the face of insurmountable odds. They persevered in their struggle until all Americans could enjoy the freedom of which this country proudly boasts.

So no, I won't shut up or go quietly into the night and stop protesting just because certain conservative Evangelical pastors and redneck politicians threaten to withdraw their support from the President of the United States (Barack Obama) in future elections. I appreciate the fact that Obama is working diligently behind the scenes to ensure that one day, I can walk down the aisle in the state that I live in and say "I do" to the man I love; and be able to avail myself to the same healthcare benefits and federal benefits and provisions that heterosexuals who enter a similar union are afforded.

I have one question to ask, especially to the so-called defenders of Civil Rights in the African-American community: What if during the Civil Rights Era, some misguided soul who headed a powerful political organization or government had the gall to stand up and say, "I think that equal rights for African-Americans should come second to preserving the cherished social institution of inequality and discrimination?!" Oops! Well, someone actually did say something similar to that! Governor George Wallace made numerous outlandish statements that were so crazy, until if I shared them with you now it literally would make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. And here is the knock-out punch: When he made these outlandish statements, millions of white Americans across the country cheered him and supported his backward discriminatory way of thinking, the same way many do when spiritual leaders mount the pulpit and bash gay people. Had it not been for President Kennedy intervening by appointing his brother, Robert, as Attorney General to deal with these issues, something that may have ultimately cost him his life, the Civil Rights Movement's stunning achievements may have been stymied and hindered, for who knows how long! Moreover, countless more innocent African-Americans would have been beaten and killed in public view, all to preserve the status quo.

Now because I hate to complain about problems and never offer solutions (something that I will do at the conclusion of this article), I must address another stunning revelation that I discovered just yesterday. Apparently, there are 170,000 inmates in the state of California in a prison system designed to service at the most 100,000. You might ask, "Well, how could we let this happen?" I will never forget the night I sat comfortably in my living room and watched a popular news program that clearly exposed one of the most powerful unions in America attempt to continue to hold hundreds of thousands of inmates across the country in institutions - not because they had committed some extremely hideous, unforgiveable crime, but because it was big business and profitable to do so. Furthermore, I have observed that when any governor or top official tries to combat this injustice and craft new legislation to release non-violent offenders, this same powerful union exerts its powerful financial and political muscle to stymie and obstruct their efforts. And they do this by using well-known law enforcement figures like puppets to frighten the American public by informing them via newscasts, Internet, and infomercials that their children are going to be raped or molested, if these criminals are released. They sound a false alarm, as if your home will be ransacked in the middle of the night by some illiterate Black or Latino man and that the Police Department will be overwhelmed by increased crime if these horrible people -- by the way, many of them your fathers, mothers, boyfriends, girlfriends, sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, cousins, uncles, and aunts -- are released. Millions, if not billions, are being misappropriated in order to care for incarcerated people yearly, causing severe cutbacks in vital funding such as educational programs, programs that benefit the growing elderly population, AIDS organizations that service an increasingly number of our youth, social security, and many other much needed social programs. This misappropriation of funds now threatens to annihilate even welfare! Year after year, we allow the prison profiteers to entice and even coerce us into believing that it would be better to lay off teachers, caregivers, city employees, and public servants, rather than to release people who most likely shouldn't be there in the first place -- particularly on an extended basis. Is it any wonder why the Bible urges us to "Awake oh thou that sleepest?!"

Yet, where are our pastors, shepherds, and religious leaders whom we hold in high esteem, and cater to, to the point of excess? Unfortunately, they are MIA, and if you do find them, they are in Washington D.C. or in Sacramento California, fighting to deny hard-working people the right to marry the person of their choice. And what is their answer to the AIDS pandemic that is ravaging their ministries and claiming the lives of millions of their parishioners, and the millions of men and women who are being herded like cattle into prison institutions, while unions and the private sector get filthy rich, as a result of their incarceration? Their answer is to channel over $45 million of their parishioners' tithes and offerings to combat Proposition 8 while many churches don't even have a food pantry to feed the poor or a church bus to transport its elderly to and from church, or any effective counseling programs for sexually-active teens to keep them from having children out of wedlock or prevent them from contracting AIDS or STDs. And tragically, no marriage counseling programs that deal with real issues for couples considering marriage.

I have heard it said time and time again by pastors all over America: "We must sound a trumpet in Zion. The very foundation of our Christian faith is under attack because the gays are getting married!" - forgetting that Jesus said, "On this rock I build my church and nothing can prevail against it, not even the gates of hell!" I say that we must sound several trumpets in Zion and tell the pastors, bishops, priests, and spiritual leaders of our flocks to stop acting like Adam and Eve who blamed each other, the tempter, and even the Creator for their transgressions and shortcomings and face up to the facts. The facts are that they have been acting like the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day who criticized Him for feeding His disciples because they were hungry on the Sabbath day because of some distorted legalistic ritual they thought was Biblically correct - all because He allowed them to eat in the cornfields. Yes, by all means, let's sound a trumpet in Zion and send those same pastors packing back to their seminaries and theological educational institutions so that they can learn the true meaning of scripture.

And lastly, someone please inform them that the best way to shore up the institution of marriage is to spend generous amounts of time with their congregations and couples who are considering marriage and not be MIA (missing in action) because they are down at the courthouse protesting. Rather, they should teach couples how to be good husbands and wives and how to walk in love and integrity from the Word of God. Jesus' real message is that we should walk in love and live lives of integrity before people, not misappropriate $45 million fighting a proposition that will ultimately be overturned, which by the way, had it passed, would have generated countless millions of much needed revenue over the next ten years into California's impoverished economy. Wisdom would surely encourage our spiritual leaders to readjust their priorities and start addressing the real issues that plague their congregations and communities and to stop being remiss in their responsibilities as leaders and shepherds.

You may wonder what all of this has to do with the subject of health, but when we think of what wholeness and real health truly means; it is best defined as peace of mind, health of body, and harmonious relationships. It is a proven fact that the joy of possessing a super-abundance of material things can easily be eclipsed by depression and even suicidal thoughts if a person does not have self love, peace of mind and psychological stability. A great majority of gays, lesbians, therapists, liberals and mental health professionals believe that many of the individuals who commit suicide are motivated to end their lives because of internalized self-hatred acquired as a result of being rejected by family, parishioners, pastors and peers which they internalized during their childhood and teenage years. Laws and propositions that deny same-gender-loving people equal rights (including marriage equality) and homophobic sermons preached from pulpits shrouded in dogmatic theology, only reinforce prejudices and negative ideas which sends a message to society that people who are gay and lesbian are freaks of nature and undeserving of any constitutional provision. The result is that countless innocent children and teens buy into this unfounded inhumane idea that they are misfits with no other alternative but to end their lives. This is a needless tragedy that we must do everything in our power to stop!

By Terry Angel Mason, Global Author
Author of The Bestselling Book: Love Won't Let Me Be Silent


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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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