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Same-sex marriage (SSM) in Maryland

Activity: 2011-MAR-06 to JUL-14:
House shelves bill. New push to pass bill in 2012.

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This is a continuation from a previous essay

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2011-MAR-06: Bill delayed until 2012 by House:

The bill was debated in the House of Delegates during the week of 2011-MAR-06. There was considerable organized opposition led by the Roman Catholic Church, with support from conservative Protestant denominations and African American groups. House Speaker Michael Busch, (D) said that the: "... vote would have been very close, make no mistake about it." On a voice vote, the bill was handed back to the House Committee.

Speaker Busch, said that he will try again next year.

The National Organization for Marriage -- the main group opposing marriage equality -- promised to spend $1 million to oppose the re-election of any legislators who supported of the bill.

The Human Rights Campaign -- a pro-equality group -- called voters urging them to ask their lawmakers to support the bill.

House Minority Leader Anthony O'Donnell, (R) said: "We took a position to support the existing definition (of marriage) as being between one man and woman and that prevailed."

Delegate Keiffer Mitchell (D) -- a grandson of the legendary NAACP lobbyist Clarence Mitchell Jr. -- said "It is a civil rights issue when we as a state and a government deny equal protection under the law."

Donald F. Norris, chairman of the Department of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County said that the Catholic church "... can get out the faithful to lobby very, very heavily. So it doesn't surprise me that in Maryland, a progressive state, that gay marriage can't yet garner the votes needed." 1

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2011-JUN-12: Renewed effort launched to pass a SSM law:

Photo of Marylanders for Marriage Equality rally Marylanders for Marriage Equality (MDME), a coalition of pro-LGBT state and nationals groups had a kick-off rally/news conference in front of Baltimore's city hall.

They are starting a renewed effort to pass a SSM bill during the 2012 legislative session. Included are:

  • State groups: Equality Maryland, and Progressive Maryland, Maryland Catholics for Equality, Maryland Black Family Alliance, Pride in Faith, and various mainline/progressive churches.
  • National groups: Freedom to Marry, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Human Rights Campaign.
  • Labor unions: Service Employees International Union 1199, and Communications Workers of America.

The main opposition is expected to be from:

  • The Roman Catholic Church.
  • Fundamentalist and other evangelical churches, including African American churches.

Delegate Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery), a supporter of SSM, said that the effort in early 2001 failed in the House because they started their effort too early in the year. She said:

"We all started running toward getting a bill passed without building a campaign in advance. This time, we’ll be running a very aggressive campaign that targets specific districts and regions where we need to shore up our vote count." 2

Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D, Baltimore) said:

"We didn't ask for ... [support] as much as we should have."

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said:

"I believe in equality for all Baltimoreans. Baltimore will continue to stand with you in Annapolis."[Annapolis is the location of the state legislature.]

Senator Rich Madaleno (D-Mont. Co.), the only openly gay member of the state Senate, was asked whether the coalition would consider a civil unions bill instead of marriage in the event of a referendum threat. He responded:

"It is marriage and only marriage. We are not considering a civil unions bill. We will win a referendum if it gets that far."

Delegate Peter Murphy (D-Charles Co.), said:

"I’m very optimistic. There is a tremendous effort and organization behind this and I’m confident the citizens of Maryland will support it."

Also at the news conference were two lesbian couples from Maryland: Kalima Young & Francine Housier with Chris Megargee & Barbara McKeefery. They described the hardships and lack of protection for themselves and their children caused by their inability to marry. 3

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Discussion of this topic continues...

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Maryland gay marriage bill dies with no final vote," Associated Press, 2011-MAR-12, at:
  2. John Wagner, "Gay marriage advocates in Maryland launching broader push," Washington Post, 2011-JUL-11, at:
  3. Kevin Naff, "New effort to win marriage underway in Md.," Washington Blade, 2011-JUN-12, at:

Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > MD > here

Copyright 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-MAR
Latest update: 2011-JUL-26
Author: B.A. Robinson

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