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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) activity in Maryland

2012-FEB-24 to MAR-01: Thoughts on SSM.
Governor signs bill into law. Anglican reaction.

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This is a continuation from a previous essay

In this section, "SSM" means "same-sex marriage;"
LGBT" means "lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered persons

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2012-FEB-24: Some thoughts on SSM:

The bill has some unexpected supporters, including former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Rev. Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD. Coates said:

"My support for the Civil Marriage Protection Act is rooted in my heartfelt sense that in America we have to protect public policy from personal and private theology and personal belief. The principles of our country are founded upon the ideals of our constitution, which protect religious freedom and institutional autonomy yet at the same time preserve individual liberty as well. ... Governments fund things that are against people's religious beliefs, personal theology doctrine, all the time. Right now our local governments and municipalities allow for alcohol establishments, liquor stores in communities, gambling, yet at the same time, religious institutions teach their parishioners not to engage in these activities. What I've seen in this conversation, and what I've attempted to help people understand, is that there's a difference between our public policy imperatives and our theological imperatives."

Actor Michael K. Williams, portrayed an openly gay stick-up man in The Wire -- a HBO drama series set and produced in and around Baltimore MD between 2002 and 2008. He commented on the need for marriage equality:

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr (D) voted against the bill and suspects that he is on the wrong side of history. He said:

"I don’t think this is civil rights, but this is history. ... Am I on the wrong side of history? As a historian, there is no doubt about it. There is no doubt about it. At the same time, I understand that, and I’ll deal with that in my own mind. ... I believe marriage is between a husband and wife and that’s the reason I’m voting the way I am." 1

Even though he voted against the bill, his name appears as the lead sponsor of the bill. That is because the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House jointly sponsor all legislation -- like this bill -- that was proposed by the Governor.

Governor Martin O'Malley was at a discussion in the District of Columbia that was hosted by Politico. He said:

"I’m prepared to sign it because I believe that the way forward among people of many different faiths is always in the direction of greater respect for the equal rights for all. ... I think good leaders, who are progressive leaders, always try to be a force for building consensus that moves us forward. ... For a long time, I though that consensus point was civil unions. I was mistaken, I misjudged, the public moved forward more quickly on this issue [towards same-sex marriage] than I had thought we would as a people." 1

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2012-MAR-01: Governor O'Malley signed the bill into law:

Governor Martin O'Malley signed the bill into law in the State House in Annapolis, MD. This makes Maryland the ninth jurisdiction in the U.S. to legalize SSM, including: the District of Columbia and eight states. The bill only comes into effect on 2013-JAN-01, and then only if an expected referendum is rejected by the voters on election day in 2012. 2 The Governor said at the time of signing:

"For a free and diverse people, for a people of many faiths, for a people committed to the principle of religious freedom, the way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights of all, for the human dignity of all. Religious freedom was the very reason for our state’s founding, and at the heart of religious freedom is the freedom of individual conscience. If there is a thread that unites all of our work here together, it is the thread of human dignity, the dignity of work, the dignity of a job, the dignity of every child’s home, the dignity of every individual." 2

A You Tube video of the signing:


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2012-MAR-01: Reaction by Anglican bishops in Maryland:

Two of the three Episcopal bishops in Maryland said that they would allow diocesan clergy to solemnize the marriages of same-sex couples if and when the Civil Marriage Protection Act goes into effect. Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland and Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said they will allow their clergy to marry same-sex couples. Easton Bishop James “Bud” Shand said that he would wait for a decision by the Episcopal Church (USA)'s decision which is currently pending.

Bishop Sutton issued a statement saying:

"The Episcopal Church, following the teachings and example of our Lord Jesus, respects the dignity of every human being -- including those on both sides of this issue. We, like many other Christian bodies who base their decisions on Holy Scripture, tradition and reason, are not of one mind about the marriage of same gender couples. Many of us are rejoicing that we in Maryland will be able to provide the church’s blessing upon these committed relationships in marriage, but also many Episcopal clergy in good conscience cannot perform same gender marriages. For those who have discerned that such committed relationships have met the church’s standards of holy matrimony, this bill will permit them to do so, and I am giving them my consent to perform these marriages." 4

At the ceremony when the Governor signed the bill into law Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said:

"I congratulate the Maryland legislature and Governor Martin O’Malley for their courageous and persistent efforts to ensure marriage equity for all Maryland citizens. As soon as the Civil Marriage Protection Act is enacted and same-gender couples can be married in the eyes of the state, I will allow and encourage Episcopal clergy in the Diocese of Washington to preside at such ceremonies, asking that they bring to this ministry the same spiritual intention and pastoral care provided to heterosexual couples seeking marriage in the church. Not all Episcopal clergy and congregations support same-gender marriage, and in no way do I intend to force this issue upon them. But for those who feel called to offer the sacramental and spiritual support of the Church to same-gender couples seeking marriage, I gladly give consent and the authority to do so." 4

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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. Greg Masters & Aaron C. Davis, "In same-sex vote, Md. Senate president says he may be on 'wrong side of history'; O’Malley says he long 'misjudged' issue," Washington Post, 2012-FEB-24, at:
  2. Aaron C. Davis, "Md. becomes eighth state to legalize gay marriage," Washington Post, 2012-MAR-01, at:
  3. "Maryland Governor signs marriage equality [bill] into law," You Tube, at:
  4. Mary Frances Schjonberg, "Maryland bishops respond to signing of marriage-equality bill. Two bishops says they will allow clergy to solemnize same-gender unions," Episcopal News Service, 2012-MAR-01, at:

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

Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2012-FEB-25
Latest update: 2012-MAR-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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