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March 11, 2011

Same-sex marriage set for final deliberations today

Afternoon update: Delegates are rising one after another to speak for and against legislation to legalize same-sex marriages. Two amendments have been offered and rejected.

Baltimore Del. Cheryl Glenn offered a compromise plan that would have changed the bill into civil unions. Like Del. John Olszewski's amendment, described below, it was rejected on a voice vote. House Speaker Michael E. Busch has not allowed roll call votes, which show precisely how many delegates support or oppose something.

Many delegates say the people want to weigh in. The discussion has lasted about 90 minutes so far. No clear sign as to how much longer it'll take -- or which way the House will decide.  

Morning update: The House has convened for debate on same-sex marriage. This morning, the House Judiciary Committee decided not to endorse a late amendment to the bill -- thought to have been designed to lure over at least one undecided delegate. That amendment and others may come up soon on the floor.

 The House of Delegates plans to vote today on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, a divisive issue that narrowly cleared the Senate and inspired thousands of Marylanders to register their feelings with their legislators.

Heading into the scheduled 11 a.m. debate, only one thing is clear: It'll be a close vote.

Supporters and opponents alike believe the 141-member House is nearly evenly divided. Del. Maggie McIntosh, the senior openly gay legislator, said this week that "a healthy handful" of delegates had yet to disclose their voting plans.

"History now rides on the hearts of several delegates," Sen. Jamie Raskin said Thursday night. The Montgomery County Democrat served as floor leader for the Senate debate. The bill, called the Civil Marriage Protection Act, passed that chamber last month on a 25-21 vote, and Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has promised to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Meanwhile, House Republicans -- whose caucus took a position against the bill -- have heralded the unexpected delays along the bill's road to passage as proof the votes are not there.

An amendment discussed Thursday shows that same-sex marriage supporters have been working overtime to win over each and every possible delegate.

Del. John A. Olszewski Jr. said his amendment, which appears to have been blessed by House and Senate leaders, further shields religious groups that do not condone same-sex relationships from having to provide services of any kind.

Asked Thursday night whether he would support the marriage bill if his amendment is accepted, the Baltimore County Democrat said, "I can't say that at this point. I'm just trying to find a balance between equal rights for all citizens and protections for religion."

Although the legislation enjoyed a relatively smooth ride in the Senate, its pathway through the House has been far rockier.

Along the way, several co-sponsors of the bill decided to oppose it, one supporter temporarily withheld her vote at a critical moment to draw attention to education funding, and a national anti-gay marriage group pledged campaign money to those who agree with its position.

Check the politics blog and our Twitter accounts (above right) for updates throughout the day.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 1:08 PM | | Comments (27)
Categories: Same-Sex Marriage


"pledged" is another word for "bribe"

I thought all the supporters of this DID NOT WANT their "rights" put to a vote!!!

"I thought all the supporters of this DID NOT WANT their "rights" put to a vote!!! "

Yeah, but when the Court of Appeals hands down a decision saying the law doesn't violate the Maryland Constitution, you have to take the fight to the legislature.

Or weren't you paying attention when that decision was handed down?

I hope that Maryland can move forward on marriage equality for all. At the end of the day, we are all humans. We all want the same things. I am disappointed that religious objections continue to block governmental action.


They didn't want their rights put to a vote by the people.

how does my marriage get matter to someone else humm 12 years later I dont get it

When civil rights are put up for a popular vote, you have these groups like NOM come in and spend their secret donor millions on a fear-mongering disinformation campaign designed to scare people into thinking it's the end of western civilization because the children will all be recruited and there will be no one left to procreate.

There was a time in this country when 'the people' wanted slavery, and women not allowed to vote. Any vote based on what 'the people' want brings back that period.

"They didn't want their rights put to a vote by the people."

Because the people would not vote to pass it! Thats why.

Anonymous writes, "I thought all the supporters of this DID NOT WANT their "rights" put to a vote!!!"

Anonymous is confused. Gay couples in Maryland do not have any legal rights. The bill being voted on would extend to them the same legal benefits that married Straight couples have always taken for granted.

What "Anonymous" is referring to are efforts to put to a popular vote the rights of minority groups. He needs to ask himself why law-abiding, taxpaying Gay Americans should be forced to subsidize all the legal benefits and responsibilities that Straight couples enjoy, when we are unable to take advantage of those same incentives to marry? And since when do voters get to decide that the rights that they enjoy should NOT apply to minorities?

How long ago was it that it became legal for blacks and whites to marry? Many thought that would be the end of the world.
If you are lucky enough to find someone to love, why should color, religion or sex make a difference.

"Gay couples in Maryland do not have any legal rights"

What total bull! The lie like that sure makes one question the honesty of the rest of your post.

"They didn't want their rights put to a vote by the people."

Because the people would not vote to pass it! Thats why.

No, because a minority's constitutional rights to be treated equally should not depend on whether the majority wants to do so or not.

I am really upalled and shocked our Maryland house is divided over a deviant behavior and lifestyle. I thought the state I grew up in was a little more conservative and upheld morals and family values, obviously I am wrong! Shame on us, may the judgment of the Lord God be swift and deliberate!

"may the judgment of the Lord God be swift and deliberate"

If a Lord God is up there, I seriously doubt he cares much whether the state of Maryland provides CIVIL, not religious, marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Gay American? Is that like Irish American?

Is is truly sad to see you people use your sexual preferences to describe yourselves. That is just sick!

@"Dr." Ben Lahay: First of all, for being a doctor, your spelling leaves a lot to be desired. Second: this country was founded on the belief that church and state MUST be separated, your religious beliefs have no room to dictate the laws of this country, your statement contradicts what this country was founded on and our forefathers, in fact, would be ashamed of YOUR apparent belief that they were wrong. If you would prefer to live in a country where religion DOES dictate law, you will be more suited to live in a country like Afghanistan. I don't think you want to live in Afghanistan. Shame on YOU for not even knowing what it means to be an American.

I am so sick of those arguing against marriage equality based on "sanctity of marriage." My former sister -in-law has now embarked on marriage #4 ( all 3 previous were divorces). She can legally marry even though she has no intention of procreating, yet my partner and I can't marry once after having been together more than 30 years. Guess what, staright couple are the ones who have already ruined the "sanctity" of marriage, hypocrites.

Marylanders: The votes to approve the Civil Marriage Protection Act are here. Thank you all and the Great State of Maryland.

So let me get this straight... Kelsy Grammer can end a 15yr marriage by phone, Larry King can be on divorce #9, Brittney Spears had a 55 hour marriage, Jesse James and Tiger Woods, while married, were having "other relations" with EVERYONE... 53% of Americans get divorced and 30-60% cheat on their spouses. Yet some believe same sex marraiges will destroy the institution of marriage? REALLY? I guess its ok to make a mochary of it (but yet still not "destroy" it) as long as you have money! I'm 25 years old.. and growing up in a generation that is WAY more expressive then those in the past... I believe there are FAR MORE serious issues that could be taking up time (getting our soldiers back from the war.. why politicians are still getting raises but yet there are "deficits EVERYWHERE!, all this health insurancce CRAP!)... All these people want is the same right and oppertunities that I have.. and why shouldn't they have them??? there is NO reason! For all you "older" people (not to be offensive) The world is a different place now.. changes are everywhere... and everything will continue to change.. GET USE TO IT! THEY AREN'T GOING AWAY! PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE and diserve to LOVE AND BE LOVED WITHOUT QUESTIONS OR RIDICULE!

“Two amendments, including a compromise plan that would have changed the bill into civil unions, have been offered and rejected”. This society has bent over backwards (pun intended) to the supporters of gay rights but their inability to compromise is where the problem lies. Gay marriage supporter's total intolerance to the values, morals, traditions, and beliefs is inexusable. Just who are the bigots?? Enough is enough. Time to meet in the middle somewhere and put this thing to rest. And total acceptance (i.e. gay marriage) is not a compromise.

Shame on the MD house and senate for passing this. This country has already taken the trip to hell in the handbasket thanks to the libs.

david1117, you don't know how right you are. Here is a post on this topic from a few weeks ago.

"Only the elimination of all conservative Christians will allow all Americans to be free and the world to no longer have to live in fear of the U.S.A" Corey Mondello | February 21, 2011 7:29 AM

So all of these religious folks screaming and hollering will immediately be looking for divorce lawyers once this passes? Or maybe the next day will be absolutely the same and same-sex marriage won't affect you in any way (which is what has happened in the other five states).

People are free to believe in whatever fairy tales they want, but they are not free to insist I believe and follow those fairy tale4s.

I understand there are emotions on each side of this. Relax people. I deplore the hatred of G/L community by the haters on here because nowhere in your Bibles does it tell the average man (or woman) to sit in judgment. If those of you who hate would just admit you're a bigot, somehow I would have a little more respect for you than to veil your problems with SS marriage based on religious doctrines. To all of you I say WWJD? Do I need t remind you that Jesus surrounded himself around all types of people?
The argument that a "civil" non-religous ceremony should threaten anyone's religions is laughable. And those churches that choose to allow religious cermonies, so be it.
But I also have to say enough already with all the discussion of every staright person (and particulary the famous ones) who have had divorces in multpile numbers or had very public indescretions. We get it...there are straight people who are bad. I would venture to say, lacking commitment and being a scumbag has very little wih one's sexual preference. It has to do with the person.

Like it or not, SS Marriage is here. Congrats to those who wish to enter into marriage commitments whether straight or gay. I support your freedom of choice.

Hey Buckey, your terribly and ignorantly mistaken in your biggest accusation that those who disagree with homosexual marriage somehow "hate" homosexuals. That could not be further from the truth.

Now just admit that YOU are the bigot and we can all move forward.

"Only the elimination of all conservative Christians will allow all Americans to be free and the world to no longer have to live in fear of the U.S.A" Corey Mondello | February 21, 2011 7:29 AM


Wouldn't that be called The Rapture?

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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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