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March 8, 2011

House girds for same-sex marriage debate

On the day before the House of Delegates was expected to begin debate on same-sex marriage, lawmakers received a letter from six gay colleagues.

"Vote yes because you know it is the right thing to do," the delegates wrote this morning. "Vote yes because you want to stand on the right side of history. Vote yes because every family in Maryland needs the protections that marriage provides."

This afternoon, opponents of gay marriage from Pennsylvania played bagpipes outside the lawmakers’ offices, displayed a banner that read: "God’s Marriage = 1 man & 1 woman," and encouraged like-minded motorists to honk.

As they prepare to open debate tomorrow on legislation that would allow gay couples to marry, members of the divided House are facing pressure from all sides.

The Senate has already approved the plan. House passage would send the bill to the governor’s desk, where Democrat Martin O’Malley has promised to sign it.

Delegates have heard from hundreds of constituents, received a flood of e-mails from supporters and opponents and, in some cases, struggled internally with how to vote. Several of them — including co-sponsors — have changed their positions. Dozens remain publicly uncommitted.

"The vote is close, probably an even split," said Del. Maggie McIntosh, the most senior of the six openly gay delegates. "A healthy handful of people are still making up their minds."

The Baltimore Democrat said that most of those delegates have told her they support same-sex marriage personally, but believe their constituents largely oppose it.

Because neither supporters nor opponents are confident in how the 141-member House will vote after what could be several days of debate, both sides have been laboring to convince the holdouts.

The Civil Marriage Protection Act would repeal the state’s legal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, enabling officials to beging issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The legislation attracted 59 co-sponsors; it needs 71 votes to pass.

The Senate voted 25-21 to approve the bill last month after several hours of discussion spanning two days. Senators on both sides of the issue congratulated themselves on the even tone of the debate.

Sen. Jamie Raskin, who shepherded the bill on the floor of the upper chamber, has been meeting regularly with the woman chosen as his House counterpart: Del. Kathleen M. Dumais.

Tomorrow, and possibly beyond, delegates may offer amendments to the Senate plan. Already, Del. John P. Donoghue, a Western Maryland Democrat, told colleagues he would be trying to seek more protection for religious groups that do not want to be forced to recognize gay marriage or participate in same-sex ceremonies.

Supporters of gay marriage fear the tone of the debate on the floor could devolve. In the House Judiciary Committee last week, opponents attempted to sink the bill by amending it to allow polygamy and incest.

Del. Don Dwyer Jr. upset some by sending an email to his colleagues that included pornography. The Anne Arundel County Republican, who calls himself the "face of the oppostion," claimed educators in Massachusetts were giving the material to children in that state.

The 43-member minority caucus voted weeks ago to oppose the legislation as a group.

The pressure on the delegates became evident last week, when the judiciary committee faced unexpected obstacles in moving the bill to the floor. Three committee members who had co-sponsored the bill wavered, delaying the vote three days.

On Friday, when the vote was taken, Del. Tiffany Alston, a co-sponsor, opposed it "for my constituents."

Alston, a Prince George’s County Democrat, and Del. Jill Carter, a Baltimore Democrat, had derailed the committee’s first voting session on the issue by not showing up. Carter, said she wanted to draw attention to other matters, including city education funding.

About the same time, another committee member and bill co-sponsor, Del. Sam Arora, shocked colleagues by saying he was not planning to vote in favor of the measure on the House floor.

The Montgomery County Democrat, who won an endorsement from gay-rights group Equality Maryland during his fall campaign, attracted particular scorn. Hundreds posted complaints on his Facebook page. Syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, who is gay, wrote on his blog that Arora is "a cowardly liar" and "stunningly pathetic."

Erstwhile supporters, meanwhile, launched a bid to get their campaign donations back.

The freshmen delegate did not explain his sudden hesitation, saying in one statement that he had needed to "pray" about it. On Friday, he released another statement saying he would vote "yes" both in committee and on the floor, but he added the caveat that he thought voters should ultimately weigh in.

Indeed, opponents have pledged that if the legislation is signed into law, they will immediately begin collecting the roughly 55,000 signatures needed to get a referendum to repeal it on the 2012 ballot.

(Pictured: Opponents of gay marriage rally Tuesday in front of House and Senate office buildings; six openly gay delegates sign a letter to their colleagues urging support.)

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 5:27 PM | | Comments (52)
Categories: 2011 legislative session, Same-Sex Marriage
        

Comments

I sure hope that the House of Delegates votes this legislation down. Marriage should remain as being between one man and one woman.

I sure hope that CIVIL RIGHTS are NOT put up for a vote...continue to live on the past we are moving forward and are on the right side of history. GET A CLUE

I really hope that debate is limited and the vote comes quick, there are far more important issues that need to be dealt with like taxes and the budget. I do fear that this bill is smoke and mirrors to shove huge tax increase down our throat.

I am a person of faith. My partner and I were married, by a rabbi, in a mainstream Temple, before God and our families. It was wonderful. It gave social and religious standing to what was already, for many years, the most important aspect of our shared lives.

You're free not to believe in God the way I do, of course. That's about faith, though, and I think we have to respectfully acknowledge that we may never agree, nor do we have to.

Now we are looking to protect our most important relationship legally, so that we are not legal strangers to one another.

We've already made multiple trips to a very expensive lawyer to try to protect that relationship, but even our lawyer acknowledges the difficulty of doing so without a marriage certificate.

The lawyer has had to think ahead to all manner of possible situations just to try to make sure they are covered--they would have been automatically by a single marriage certificate.

And here, the law has to be equitable. You get to protect your most important relationship. I want to protect mine. I don't see why you object to that.

So please consider: this isn't about "destroying" anything. This isn't about weird or dangerous or unhealthful "lifestyles." It's about people's lives. It's about OUR lives--and the most important relationship in our lives.

We're already married in the eyes of God and the congregants who saw us marry in a religious ceremony.

Now we seek to protect our relationship legally-- something that most opponents apparently think is important for them to be able to do, but somehow, unimportant for us?

That makes no sense.

heat from both sides, this needs to be voted on by the people of maryland not the gay groups that supported the democrats that got elected, let the people vote and the majority rule as it should, we are tired of minority's forcing laws on the majoriy and nothing is said or done about it

Homosexuality is sexual debauchery. Public representatives who promote perversion are sexual predators. Anyone who votes for such public sleazery is an accessory to sexual predation.

Jesus will pronounce judgment on this state with extreme prejudice. Raining down fire on Sodom was only a warning shot.

Promotion of sleazery and sexual perversion is a detriment to society at large in every way.

The rule of law is weeping and gnashing of teeth as Jesus cuts you down and burns you in the lake of fire. That is the rule of law. Governor O'Malley has zero respect for the rule of law.

The word of the Lord is the sole source of truth in the universe. Anyone who advocates against the law of the Lord is a liar. They will suffer condemnation. They will go to the White Thrown Judgment and be sentence to a lake of fire and it will never stop burning.

Last time I checked, if the state presumes it is above the law and the truth, it shall suffer severe consequences.

If the lawless so called lawmakers pass this headiness, they are not right, they are not courageous, they are just the opposite. God will not show them mercy and their grace is numbered.

Separation of church and state.

By your logic, atheists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and anyone else who does not believe in Christianity should not be allowed to legally wed.

Keep your hateful "religious morals" out of my politics.

Civil rights should not be voted on.
If America let the close-minded, bigoted, majority vote on civil rights issues, we would still have segregation, "racially pure" marriages... and maybe even slavery.

Andrew. Please tell me how equal marriage personally hurts you? Does it make you love your wife or family less? Does it make them love you less? The fact of the matter is, just because something has been "traditional" doesn't make it just.

In many Islamic cultures, the Quran is used to diminish women and restrict their freedoms. We as Americans find that horrid.

Up until 40 years ago, interracial marriage was illegal in the state of Maryland. One argument was because there were irrational fears that children would be born difformed or abnormal.

The point being, our government and its officials cannot and should not use religious tradition to justify discrimination. And by not granting the same rights our State offers, does exactly that. Separate IS NOT Equal

I was driving home from work in Bethesda today to DC. Made a right from E-W Highway onto Connecticut Ave and heard 2 very long, sustained car HONKS. I slammed on my breaks, as did two others, and the three of us nearly collided.

Was there another accident? Was there a pedestrian foolishly crossing the road in DC rush hour traffic? NO -- it was a bunch of buffoons holding signs saying "HONK IF YOU SUPPORT TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE."

I don't care what anybody thinks about gay marriage; gays and gay-haters all have the right to express their views in America. I know the first Amendment protects freedom of Speech, and PEACEFUL assembly. I even think the recent Westboro decision, as disgusting as they are, was the correct interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court. But last time I checked... honking a car horn is ILLEGAL except for in driving-related "emergencies" or problems. It's purpose is to serve as a WARNING. And that's how most people react to them, especially if they are long and exaggerated, as was the case here (clearly a hot-bottom topic). But it's not meant for rush hour DC traffic "games." Their freedom of speech ends when it can result in car accidents and death.

Whoever these people are, inciting MD drivers to break the law and nearly kill other drivers is illegal and disgusting. I hope this group is charged with Attempted Vehicular Homicide -- because that was EXACTLY what they did to me. And the irony of it all... I'm a married mother of 3... and these "family values" whack jobs nearly destroyed a good, moral family with its wrecklessness.

If a gay rights group was doing the same, I'd still feel the same -- come out with your signs, but don't encourage drivers to break the law and possibly destroy the lives of others. I do hope whoever was behind this ends up in jail...

"let the people vote and the majority rule as it should"

With respect, this DIRECTLY affects my life. It really DOESN'T affect yours unless you are contemplating marrying someone of the same sex.

I would NEVER ask to vote on who you wanted to marry.

I don't understand why anyone feels the need to vote on my life and my ability to protect my most important relationship with a legally-binding contract.

It's a CONTRACT, and it only affects those who sign it.

Peace.

Ten years from now, our children will wonder what all the fuss was about. The constitution guarantees equal protection for all, doesn’t it? This is simply the next logical step in our country’s struggle for civil rights. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act is about civil marriage, not holy matrimony. It is an effort to fulfill the constitution’s guarantee of providing equal protection and pursuit of happiness to all of our citizens. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that marriage is a fundamental civil right. Our Delegates should cast their votes to protect our constitution and end the last vestige of official state discrimination against its own citizens. Marylanders will look back on this moment with pride by the knowledge that our great state was on the honorable and just side of civil rights.

I just can't even believe there are still people opposed to this, it's embarrassing. Nosy people: get a hobby and allow people in love to marry. If you disagree with gay marriage, don't marry a gay person. Sheesh, boredom sure does make people hateful.

TO CZAR..I think you need to read Jesus' real tone and teaching. LOVE NOT HATE. He is not prejudiced and your ridiculous fire prediction may be your everlasting home for your hate. Don't dare to presume you know the will of God.
The word of the Lord is the sole source of truth in the universe from a religious perspective and as a religious person, I advocate for God's love of all of his children, straight, gay, black, white, purple or green, as he preached when he walked this earth.. Last time I checked, if a person presumes to be God he will die by the will of God and you seem to think you are God. And we all know you are not.
Now let's all remember that we are discussing civil law here, not church law so let's get ahead of this religious zealot who preaches hate and bigotry and press on with voting for civil rights for all people.

Please, citizens of Maryland, look carefully at those who are out in the streets carrying signs of hate and discrimination. Listen carefully to the lies and threats that groups such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and Family Research Council (a designated hate group) will spew to frighten you to prevent a vote for marriage equality by your House. These are the same lies and deceits that NOM, FRC and the Church spewed in my state of Maine and the result was horrific. We were an honorable, proud, free-thinking and inclusive state. These groups swooped into Maine and soiled us in ways we couldn't perceive at the time. The poison was toxic and too many Maine citizens were ensnared by this vile deluge but we now know the truth. We won't let this happen again. Our state (and the federal court) is insisting that NOM reveal its hateful supporters because the good citizens of Maine now realize they were hoodwinked. They refuse to reveal the outside organizations who intruded into our state. Maryland, trust me, you, too, will feel defiled, soiled and profoundly changed if you let these hate groups sway your sense of fair play. Enough is enough; this good nation and your good state must end the tide of bigotry, now.

May this whole assembly print a series of posters that are posted around the great state of Maryland that say:
A) I was voted for gay marriage so taxpayers could fund public employee gay retirements benefits at the highest possible level at increased private worker tax input..
B) I was concerned that taxpayers were not giving enough money to illegal aliens to fund their post-high education after using legal tax dollars to fund illegal alien education programs. at the high school level.
C) I thought renaming some obscure Western Maryland mountain to avoid offending a Baltimore City resident was more important than figuring out how to repair the roads in the state of Maryland.

My challenge to those opposing this bill: if you oppose marriage rights for same-sex couples, then you should give up your marriage rights, as well. Remember this if the bill passes, is signed, and goes to referendum - would you want someone to vote on your marriage? I doubt it.

We gay citizens deserve the same rights...we pay the same taxes (usually extra taxes since we don't have the protections of marriage), we observe the same laws, and we contribute to our cities and towns with our talent and citizenship as our heterosexual neighbors and friends. If we have to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship, we too, deserve the rights of full citizenship, including the civil rights like marriage.

This to me is a non-issue. If you don't agree with marriage equality, don't marry someone of the same sex! As a school teacher, I don't ever recall reading/citing the words..."with liberty and justice for ALL" and seeing the word, "except". Separate but equal does not, has not and should not work. We can not "eenie meenie miney moe" through our neighborhoods and point to who is allowed marriage or not. As a christian and American, I am for equality, love, and acceptance for all human life.

The real issue here is whether or not we should allow ourselves the ability to control our neighbors who abide the law but use their liberty in a way we don't approve of. Fear is not the way of Americans; we are brave and loyal to the idea that we can live in peace although we disagree on key issues.

"Some ask why; I ask why not."~Robert Kennedy

God's marriage? Give me a break. Seriously, God has better things to worry about than whether the state of Maryland grants CIVIL marriage rights to its gay citizens and their families.

If you want to believe that two men or two women loving each other and raising a family is some kind of intrinsically wrong act that will send all parties involved to hell, then that's your right. This is a free country. But for pete's sake, don't try to shove that opinion -- an increasingly rare opinion, by the way -- down our throats and then expect those of us with a different point of view not to object.

Nothing that happens this week will have any bearing on any religious denomination or anyone who practices religion in the state of Maryland. You had better find some other justification for opposing this bill because that one is an absolute non-starter.

That is the rule of law in a church. That is the rule of law when Jesus gets back.

The rule of law in the time being is something else because we have non Christians with civil rights.

Actually the will of God is fairly easy to surmise from the Bible if read literally. You can read, right? To have everyone voluntarily come to Him and surrender certain rights to Him, yes, including sexual rights, such that one may only be permitted one single partner of the opposite sex for a lifetime, to be dissolved only if said partner has been unfaithful.

I said voluntarily. That means love of God. Those who will not do not love God and yes they will have an opportunity to spend eternity without Him.

It must be emotionally painful to be confronted with the truth that God requires that the fornication, adultery, homosexuality must go. Some people want both. God requires a choice.
So people rationalize the solution by twisting the rules in the Bible to let them have both. But that is not Christianity. Christianity requires take it or leave it- even if it means turning your back on family, friends, and lovers. I have turned my back on all three.

1. My dad never accepted me again. My brother thinks I am nuts.
2. I am much more distant from some friends because I am a Christian
3. I could have pursued as many as five wonderful women but for one thing- they are non-evangelical. Trust me, you listen to the woman who gives you sex...

>The Baltimore Democrat said that most of those delegates have told her they support same-sex marriage personally, but believe their constituents largely oppose it..

The main problem with using this reasoning is that the bill absolutely, positively will NOT effect the approximately 90% of their constituents, so why does their opinion weight so heavily? This won't force them to abandon their religion. This won't force them to participate in gay marriages. This won't affect children. This won't affect heterosexual marriages. We *know* all this from taking a look at Massachusetts, other states, Canada, and other countries.

And, probably most importantly to the legislators, legislators who vote for this can get re-elected in large numbers...we *know* this from Massachusetts.

The "majority" was wrong about slavery. They were wrong about inter-racial marriage. They were wrong about equality for women. And they're wrong about marriage equality.

"Dear leaders...please lead instead of punting to a group of people unaffected and ill-informed about this issue."

A high impact societal experiment without going through IRB

1. The building cells of a society are families. Although there are laws regulating each individual in the society it is no doubt that family play a key role to support and stabilize a society like the foundation of a house.

2. Blood relationship has been the fundamental rule to form a family. A mother will love a child, who came out of her own womb, with a selfless sacrificial love that the bonding is unimaginable for outsiders. A person only when being loved by such kind of sacrificial love can grow up with real self confidence feeling her- or him- self is worthy. In the adulthood, stress may come like flood. A person that has been loved such kind of love will sustain and even when the outside world is tumbling she/he can stand the pressure and continuously contribute to the society to make it a better place to live. Although majority of us never appreciate the important role the blood relationship play, it has been there and up to now is still there sustaining the society and continuously making our society a better place to live.

3. The bill brought to the table is not simply only about “Two people with the same sex love each other and would like to get their marriage right”. It is a full package that will include children and fundamentally change the structure of a family. In the new family structure, it is likely family members will be living together with no blood relationship. The impact of such a cell structure change although will not immediately pop up to the surface since it is happening in the foundation level. However, it will be significant and will have long lasting effect to the society.

4. With the change of the family structure, the first impact we can foresee is that the output (children) from a family (the cell) will be different. How much different, it is unknown at this moment. This is a societal experiment we are setting up today without going through initial study or internal review board (IRB) to obtaining minimum understanding what we are getting into and checking and weighing the benefit and cost of such an experiment.

5. What are the impacts to the community? There are certainly many worries in people’s minds. Where this is going to lead to and where the boundary will be when the flood gate is opened. For example, two men form a family and adopt a little girl. When the girl grows up to 16-18 she becomes women. If somehow the chemistry inside one of the man changed and he would like to become bisexual, after multi-years cultivation relationship and emotional linkage, the young woman also feels the best man is her father. She wants to marry one of the fathers. There will be another bill like today’s one on the table discuss about legalizing father-daughter (or mother son) marriage. Some may argue this will never happen since real homosexual will not be attracted by opposite sex. This could be true even though it depends on how the circuitry in the brain is affected by the surrounding chemistry and aging effects. However, would father-son marriage or mother –daughter marriage sound less dramatic so they are more acceptable?
Some may feel the above example is too extreme and is diminishing homosexual people. I apologize for that but still need to point out what people are worrying about and cover the ground of possible future developments. The very fundamental issue is that once the flood gate is open, there will be no legal base to reject the followed development it could get to the level debating legalizing human-animal marriage. Where is the boundary?

6. Addressing long term effect, it will take a while for society to find what kind of deep impact this bill is leading to. As indicated earlier, the nature bond through blood relationship is vanished when the family structure is redefined. The generation of kids growing up without experiencing unselfish sacrificial love and with much less real self-confidence starts to feed into the community, the management level, the decision making positions. That moment we are going to see the impact of this experiment. In the animal world the lead male in a pack will eat or kill those youngsters that are not of its own offspring. In human society we have laws to protect the youngsters. However, the law cannot force parents to love kids from the bottom of their hearts. It has to come from the blood relationship the nature bond will force the eagle father and mother to go out looking for food to feed the kids even when they are so tired and they are hunger themselves.
The society is a living organism. A family is the fundamental cell of the living organism. When the cell structure starts to transform, when the house foundation starts to change, the stability and the support of the society will eventually experience the real impact. This is no doubt a high impact societal experiment. Delegates: you are making a history here. The decision could be irreversible to our society.

WOW.
To think in this day and age there are so many narrow minded people who have nothing better to do than concern themselves with who someone else chose to marry. And as for putting it to a Vote???
Do that and next time they will remove "GAY" from the equasion and replace it with "BLACK, JEWISH, FEMALE" Or any other section of the population they feel the need to control by taking away or denying rights to. All of you who want a vote just hope and pray you don't find yourself in the next group being denied their rights via a vote. But if you are just remember you opened that door and set the tone in Maryland that allows your rights to be voted on.

Actually not getting saved is what sends a person to hell. Never mind the sex, and America is so damn sex crazed. You've already sinned some other way. Little white lie, or a theft, or skipping church on Sunday....

No one is perfect. They all need Jesus to be saved. But if you're going to concentrate on homosexuality and you think you're saved because you're not you might wake up one day in hell.

Don't be that guy.

Oh sure Paul, they told us in grad school parents feel nothing for their adopted kids......

M.A., Sociology

Hey Chris Marsh,

We don't live in a theocracy. You can't be an uber evangelical Christian. That is your right. Just like it is your brother or father's right to disagree.

But you cannot, under American law, discriminate against me and my friends because of a 2,000 year old piece of fiction. I would never stop you from believing or practicing your religion. Only when the hate you spew hurts me do I get defensive.

So back off, and let me have civil liberties.

LOL Paul, your #5 paragraph is amazing. "She wants to marry one of the fathers"?? "human-animal marriage"??? If that's really the best you've got then it's no wonder your side is losing the argument.

>Addressing long term effect, it will take a while for society to find what kind of deep impact this bill is leading to.

Seven years in Massachusetts. Eight in Canada.

Please demonstrate for me *any* signs of problems. If you can't, then I have a hard time believing you that all heck will break loose at year 30.

Is this a reasonable concern, *really*? Or is this like warming everyone that the earth is truly flat and their ships will sail off the ends of the earth?

Also, Paul, what you said is offensive to any parent who has ever adopted or had a foster child (or any child from such a relationship). Shame on you.

So Paul, I was watching this nature thing when I was 18, a shrinking lake in a desert, the adult pelicans would fl off and leave their babies. (It is enough to make you cry, really).

So much for the birds loving their chicks huh?

Birds ain't stupid. They'll migrate and hatch more chicks lter.

Relax Andrew.

If you want to be yourself fine, just don't call yourself a Christian. I support a free country too. When you say it is a pursuit of happiness thing and we pay taxes serve on juries/let us have equal services, I am listening.

Forgiven in advance, cm

For God's sake already people, nobody is taking away your traditional marriage!

You are still free to procreate as you wish! (as if that was ever held up because the wedding hadn't happened yet)

I neither need your smug forgiveness nor your permission for equality.

Like America, I am not Christian. I have never claimed to be.

Elected officals represent the people who elected them. It is wise for those who want to be elected to public offices in the future to listen to those who put them in the one they are in. The elected official's vote should reflect their constiuents vote. It's the elected official's job to discover what that is and to represent. Listen to the people you represent.

The more I hear people debate this subject, the more ridiculous it seems that this subject is even being argued. It is obvious that special interest groups have paid off the legislators that are voting 'yes' on this law. Common sense and the voters (yes, the "majority") will make sure marriage remains the union that it is: one man and one woman. Homosexuality is a deviation away from normal health human sexuality and serves no public purpose. It is not hateful to take that position; it is the situation that nature (and yes, God himself) has placed humans into. Heck, even gay folks can ONLY reproduce heterosexually, whether they choose to or not.

If you want to claim that homosexual marriage is a "rights" issue, then I suppose you could claim ANYTHING is a right (why can't 12-year-olds get a state-issued driver license, for example?). Society puts barriers in place using good judgment. Common sense doesn't need a grandiose explanation. The current marriage law on Maryland's books demonstrates good judgment, and so will the voters if this comes up for a vote next year.

"Common sense doesn't need a grandiose explanation"

Translation: Since I have no argument, I won't bother making one.

On one side, you have people who tell their stories, demonstrate the problem with the current situation, use logic, and work to change the minds of people who disagree with them. But same-sex marriage opponents don't even bother any more. They just stamp their feet and wail, "I'm right!"

Then again, if the best you can do is wring your hands about the children of a gay couple wanting to marry her parents or the imminent imposition of "human-animal marriage," then it's not surprising that people have stopped making an affirmative case for the anti-gay position.

But keep it coming. Senator James Brochin and people like him are listening.

I completely agree with Gregory, I was just mulling over the issue in my head...And it's obvious that even the most rational and well-reasoned arguments made by someone who is for gay rights makes will be dismissed out of hand by any religious fanatic. Those who attempt to use any argument but religious have no ground whatsoever. The thing is that, in the end, we are not a theocracy and we never were created to be one. We are a Democracy, and few of the founding fathers based their decision making on religion. Even if they had, it is unconstitutional to discriminate against anyone.

for those of you that CONTINUE to argue that "gay marriage" is a threat to to you...perhaps that dry socket that your wife suffers or the erectile dysfunction that you suffer at the thought of "gay marriage" is a hint that you need to be batting for the other team...GET OVER IT...get over yourself...SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE...NOH8...its going to happen EQUALITY

my mother had a state issued drivers permit when she was 9 or 10 years old in Arkinsaw, and in California i got my permit when i was 16, after the schools ended the drivers trainers in the schools where we used too get to watch blood splashed bodies in auto accidents on the screen just before we got too drive the pack man mr frogger driving nitchies that look like the fiberglass rideum cars outside the piggley wiggly,,,ya know so what ya gonna tax?

Separation of Church and State mutes you religious freaks personal choices. Don't shove your personal choice to believe in god down our throats.

Marriage is and has always been defined differently though out the history of man. From brother and sister, to husband and multiple wives, to Gay couples, to first cousins and interracial couples.

For the ignorant Americans wanting the majority to rule through a popular vote, go back to school. You should know the "tyranny of the majority can't suppress a minority through popular vote." If we could, Blacks would still be slaves and surely Interracial marriage would never have been allowed. Nor would women be allowed to vote. Get a clue or shut up!

Paul - "She wants to marry one of the fathers"... You mean like Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn? Or was that okay by you because Woody Allen is straight? You give all these "examples" of what you think will happen if marriage is legal for gay couples, but what you are missing is that all of these issues are ALREADY HAPPENING IN THE STRAIGHT COMMUNITY. Allowing gays to marry will not make these problems better or worse. It will just let two people who love each other get married. That's it. Fin.

Homosexuality is not a sin according to the Bible. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, prostitution, and rape, not homosexuality.

It is the least bit close-minded to think a Christian can't support the political freedom to marry within the same gender while insisting volunteers/disciples/converts who live in Jesus Christ live strictly according to the Scriptures.

Religious obligations are upstairs and political rights are downstairs. In becoming a Christian you surrender some personal freedoms to Jesus Christ.... who is both Lord and Savior.

So non-Christians should not be threatened by Christian standards... the magic words might be "I am not a Christian"

Also here is a bit of Scripture that condemns hatred (of gays or anyone)

"If anyone hates his neighbor (brother?) he is a murderer, and we know no murderer has eternal life."

I John 3:15

Hatred is cutting your own throat. It isn't worth it. We need that on a placard for counter-demonstrators at the next Westboro event.

Read the whole Bible. I did three times. Don't just follow the lead of the guy driving in front of you. Read the state manual.

I read one comment that the Levitical prohibition against homosexuality was directed at the humiliation of prisoners of war.

The language in Leviticus to lie with a man as a man lies with a woman suggests sex lying together, regardless of context. Leviticus made no mention of prisoners of war. The only thing that seems to matter is penetration into a rectum (the only way for men to lie together and penetrate) for any reason.

It might be fascinating about the origin of the practice. But we do our best interpreting the Bible without any outside materials, thanks.

This may also be an attempt to legitimize homosexuality in the Bible for people who want to be both Christian and gay. That won't fly because elsewhere in the Bible, New Testament, male and female homosexuals are condemned, and says various types of people, including heterosexual adulterers and fornicators, plus homosexuals, will not enter into heaven.

I regret the choice you have to make that drives you to want to take Scripture out of context so you don't have to make a choice.

Definition of marriage in the dictionary:
In my 2000 edition of Webster's International Dictionary (they have since changed it) Marriage is: 1-The act of marrying, or the state of being married; wedlock. 2-A wedding. 3-Any close union.

Passing this bill will bring in much needed revenue to the state. Weddings are expensive and they benefit small business and government. This will increase state revenue without having to burden the taxpayers.

The bill includes legislation that allows churches to decide if they want to perform gay marriages in their church.

Need I say more?

Last time we mixed politics with religion, people were burned at the stake.
People have every right to live their lives as they want to, but no one will ever have any right to judge anyone else based on their belief system.
Love doesn't pick a color, age, or gender. Love waits for nothing. When I see people protesting same sex marriage and holding signs with phrases like 'God's Marriage= 1 Man & 1 Woman,' I get extremely angry. This country was originally founded on the ideas of freedom of and from religion, and yet we are constantly having the beliefs of various religions shoved down our throats. No one chooses conciously who they will love, and no matter who they love, they should be able to marry them. How would all of you happily married homophobes like it if you hadn't been able to get married because a group of people didn't like the idea of you two together?

We're not allowed to put faith into love, but you all can put ALLOF YOUR FAITH into some guy that nobody can prove exists?

makes perfect sense....

Some of the people burned were Christians who only wanted to read the Bible according to their own conscience.

The Seventh Day Adventists believe that the Catholic persecution of said Christians was foretold. I do find the mathematical precision of the period, 1260 years*, from 538 to 1798 AD (ended with Napoleon's conquest of the Papacy), a little chilling.

* "times, time, and half a time, 3.5 times where a time is 360 days, or a day is a year. 360 x 3.5 = 1260

The government of Europe was the Catholic Church.

You'd be preaching to the choir talking to SDA. They do not serve in the military, for example. Perhaps an example for the rest of us Christians.

Ever heard of a coincidence?
I was making a point about seperation of church and state, not about the actual burning of 'witches.'
Diverting from the topic at hand will not help your argument.

Marriage is an institution that involves only one man and one woman. I speak in my personal capacity.

I think, in my personal opinion, that anyone who loves each other should be able to get married. People sjouldn't have certain rights revoked according to their sexual orientaiton.

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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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