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Same-sex marriage in Maryland

Marriage equality bill. Recognition
of out-of-state SSMs. Poll results

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2009-JAN: Marriage Equality bill re-introduced:

Senator Rich Madaleno reintroduced the bill on 2008-JAN. 1 It was Senate bill SB 565 and House Bill 1055.

According to gay commentator Steve Charing on 2009-JAN-13:

"Equality Maryland is scaling back expectations regarding passage of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act during the upcoming session. According to [Kate] Runyon, their new Executive Director, the goal is to work with people to increase sponsorship this year."

"When asked if Equality Maryland may try to secure civil unions in the short-term given that there is broader consensus among the legislators for that and Governor O'Malley has signaled that he would sign the measure into law, Runyon said the organization would rather wait for a marriage bill to succeed." 2

The bill was given first reading in the Senate on 2009-FEB-06.

2009-MAR: Hearing by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee:

The League of Women Voters of Maryland supported the proposed act, testifying on the basis of the League's earlier "equality opportunity" study:

"Under Maryland law, marriage is a bundle tying together rights and responsibilities.  These rights and responsibilities govern not just the relationship of the partners but also affect dependent children, medical care providers, employers and the community at large.  The law of marriage ensures that a person claiming the rights of marriage also is bound by its responsibilities.  The League feels that the people of Maryland would be better served by authorizing an expansion of marriage eligibility."

"In keeping with the principle of separation of church and state, the League prefers making the basis of state recognition of all marriages/civil unions a civil proceeding, with an additional step of marriage in accordance with religious traditions a voluntary option." 3

2009-JUL-06: Discussion of Maryland recognizing out-of-state SSMs:

During June, State Senator Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) who is the lead sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act in the Maryland Senate, asked Douglas Gansler, the Attorney General, whether Maryland will recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Maryland is a reasonably short car ride from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington DC where SSM is available. If Maryland recognized out-of-state same-sex marriage as New Yor does, then living, committed same-sex couples would only need to drive a short distance, get married in a nearby state, return to Maryland and enjoy at least the few hundred state marital benefits and protections for themselves and their children.

On 2009-JUL-06, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) was asked during an interview on a radio station whether he favored Maryland recognizing same-sex marriages that had been solemnized in other political jurisdictions. He replied:

"I think that it's very difficult to deny equal rights to people when it comes to rights that are dispersed by government rather than a faith or a church and so I think if a person has these rights under another state than I think we're sore pressed to deny those rights, so yes, I think we probably should respect those rights." 4

2009-JAN-05: Momentum building for SSM:

Equality Maryland (EQMD) issued a news release predicting that the recent SSM legalization in neighboring Washington DC, and a decision by the state MVA that favors transgender persons and transsexuals may indicate an increase in approval for the legalization of SSM.

A recent state-wide poll of registered voters indicates that:

"By three percentage points, registered Maryland voters support the General Assembly passing the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. ... Marylanders resoundingly reject the idea of a California Proposition 8-type campaign or Maine Question 1 battle and would vote against repealing a marriage equality law - 51 percent to 39 percent." 5

Whether a three point margin would be sufficient to overcome an expected massive anti-SSM fear campaign is difficult to predict. The vote would probably be close as it was in Maine (2%) and California (3%), but could go either in a pro-equality or anti-equality direction.

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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. Rich Madaleno, "Message for Equality," OUTloud, 2009-JAN-16, at:
  2. Steve Charing, "We're in a good place legislatively," Steve Charing OUTspoken, 2009-JAN-13, at:
  3. "Benefits and Burdens of Marriage Under Maryland Law: An Equal Opportunity Study," League of Women Voters of Maryland, 2007-JAN, at:
  4. Scott Stiffler, "Maryland governor supports recognition of out-of-state marriages," Edge Philadelphia, 2009-JUL-13, at:
  5. Morgan Meneses-Sheets, "EQMD - 2010 battle begins!," Equality Maryland, 2010-JAN-05 news release. Online at:

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

Copyright 2007 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-MAR-03
Latest update: 2010-MAR-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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