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Same-sex marriage (SSM) in Maryland

Activity: 2011-FEB-08 to FEB-14:
Committee hearings; support; rally held

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2011-FEB-08: Senate committee hearings:

The hearings lasted over 7 hours. About 140 persons signed up to give their testimony. A few were:

  • Maggie Gallagher, chairperson of the National Organization for Marriage -- a group that concentrates on preventing same-sex marriage -- said that only opposite-sex couples should be allowed to marry because of the concept of responsible parenting:

    "Marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason: these are the only unions that can make new life and connect children in love to their mom and dad. SB 116 doesn't just add more people to marriage, it changes marriage." 1

    She also testified:

    ''The reason that marriage is a virtually universal human social institution that reoccurs again and again in different cultures, and different religious backgrounds, is that humanity recognizes that we need a special institution to bring together a male and female to make and raise the next generation."

    ''To get to gay marriage requires that we repudiate this as a public purpose of marriage. ... The only way that we can give our children the benefit of a mother and father in a single family is to first pledge to a permanent, faithful, sexually exclusive union of man and woman.'' 2

  • Derek McCoy, a Beltsville pastor, president of the Maryland Family Alliance, said:

    "Your concern should not be pandering to the political move of the day but truthfully working to foster conditions which unequivocally have been proven to be the best environment for children and families. ... Children do better economically, socially and educationally when raised by a mom and a dad." 3

Webmaster's note: McCoy's belief about the superiority of families led by one woman and one man is accepted by almost all religious and social conservatives. In the past, conservatives have based this belief on many studies that compared families led by opposite-sex parents with single parent families. The first time that this argument was used is believed to have been in Massachusetts before that state's supreme court. The court rejected that evidence as invalid because the studies had not examined families led by same-sex parents. Recently a number of studies that compare families led by two same-sex parents with those led by opposite-sex parents have shown that there is no significant difference in their children's outcome.

  • Maya Polyak, aged 14, talked about the refusal by a clerk at a grocery store to redeem a bonus card. She said:

    ''The clerk explained to my mom that we were not able to use the card because Lisa's [-- her other mother's --] name was not on the card and because she was not married to my mom. As I stood there watching it all happen, so many different emotions came over me –- embarrassment, sadness, hurt –- but mostly I just felt helpless and angry. Helpless that I could not help my mom ... that I could not make it better.'' 2

On 2011-FEB-08, Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D), president of the Senate, predicted a close vote in the Senate, and set the chance of the bill passing at 50 to 70%. 3

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2011-FEB-10: Senator reverses his stand on SB 116:

State Senator James Brochin (D) announced that he has decided to support the same-sex marriage bill in the state because of the "hate and venom" 1 and the "appalling" 4 behavior by those opposed to marriage equality. He had previously only supported civil unions for same-sex couples. What changed his mind was the tone of the anti-SSM testimony before the Judicial Proceedings Committee. He said in a statement:

"For me, the transition to supporting marriage has not been an easy one, but the uncertainty, fear, and second-class status that gays and lesbians have to put up with is far worse and clearly must come to an end. ... What I witnessed from the opponents of the bill was appalling. Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community, and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles." 1

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2010-FEB-14: Senator Kasemeyer announces support for SB 116:

Senator Edward Kasemeyer said that he will support the same-sex marriage bill. 24 are needed to pass the bill out of the Senate; 29 votes are needed to terminate debate and have an up/down vote. Currently, 22 senators support the bill (21 Democrats, 1 Republican); 20 are opposed (9 Democrats, 11 Republicans); and 5 are either undecided or haven't announced their position (all Democrats). 5

Two persons posted comments on the article in the Baltimore Sun from which the above information was obtained. The two expressed opposing views on SSM:

Ray Barcia wrote:

"If you ever vote for a Democrat believing that they will actually do the right thing on issues like same-sex marriage, you will be sorely disappointed. Gay marriage is just one of many issues that the Dems will throw Christian voters under the bus over. If you care about these issues (from a conservative viewpoint), then you simply cannot be a Christian and a Democrat. Plain and simple."

Ray Barcia wrote:

"Congratulations and THANK YOU to Sen. Edward Kasemeyer for his courage and conviction to support this important legislation. As a gay couple who have been 'married' for 29 years, we look forward to the day when we will be able to take the quotation marks away and say that we are married. This will give us all of the same rights as other Americans.

This is NOT a religious issue and the Catholic church should stay out of it. Separation of Church and State is a hallmark of our democracy. We have no desire to have a church authority validate our marriage. This is a contract between us and the State of Maryland, not a religion. The Catholic Church does not have the authority to grant us access to each other in a hospital. It does not have the power to allow for easy transfer of property when a spouse passes on. Like Glenda the Good Witch said, 'You have no power here'." 5

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2010-FEB-14: An additional senator supports SB 116; there is a possibility of a 24th senator:

Sen. Katherine Klausmeier decided to vote in favor of same-sex marriage. She said: "I just weighed all of the options. It's about fairness."

Sen. Joan Carter Conway has said that if she appears to be the 24th vote, she will "pray really hard" and decide what to do. She is a black woman and a supporter of civil unions. She feels torn between her religious faith, which calls on her to discriminate against same-sex couples, and her support for minority groups.

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2011-FEB-14: Supporters of SSM organize stage rally:

Supporters rallied in front of the Maryland State House on Valentine's Day as part of a national campaign, and later lobbied individual lawmakers. 4

"MarilynManson" posted a comment on the Washington Post article from which the above information was obtained:

"Gender should not be a qualifier for marriage."

"The government has no right to dictate the genitals of the person I wish to marry."

"I agree with removing the gender stipulation from the one marriage law, instead of having to change over 300 other laws to allow for 'civil unions'." 4

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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. Stephanie Samuel, "Appalled by 'Hate' Speech, Md. Senator Changes Gay Marriage Stance," The Christian Post, 2011-FEB-11, at:
  2. Yusef Baja, "Marriage Talk in Annapolis," Metro Weekly, 2011-FEB-09, at:
  3. John Wagner, "Same-sex marriage has good chance of approval, Maryland Senate leader says," Washington Post, 2011-FEB-08, at:
  4. "Same-sex marriage backers plan rally," Associated Press, 2011-FEB-14, at:
  5. Annie Linskey, "V-Day gift for gay advocates: Kasemeyer will support same sex marriage," The Baltimore Sun, 2011-FEB-14, at:

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

Copyright 2010 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-JAN-14
Latest update: 2011-FEB-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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