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Blame it on the Judge

Del. Donald Dwyer Jr. made good yesterday on his threat to try and impeach the Baltimore circuit judge who ruled recently that the state could not prevent gays and lesbians from marrying.

His "Address For The Removal Of Judge M. Brooke Murdock," which charges her with violating the public trust, abusing her power, incompetence, willful neglect of duty, and misbehavior in office, was met coolly in the House chamber.

About 35 House members walked slowly off the floor, blocking camera shots that would have captured Dwyer introducing the resolution.

Del. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery) said the legislative walk-off was "very much an impromptu thing. We all said, 'Look what he's doing. We don't want to be a party to this.'"

In January, Murdock cast open the debate over same-sex marriage by ruling in favor of 19 gay plaintiffs, who argued that the 33-year-old law was discriminatory and could not withstand a constitutional challenge.

With the decision stayed pending appeal, Dwyer launched an as-yet unsuccessful push for the General Assembly to vote to amend the constitution, which would force the issue onto the November ballot. That effort won wide backing from Republicans, but his attempt to unseat Murdock has not.

It met with angry reactions from court officials, and from legal groups, including the ACLU, which handled the marriage case for 19 gay and lesbian plaintiffs.

"This goes too far," said ACLU staff attorney David Rocah. "It is a dangerous, reckless, irresponsible, and patently frivolous endeavor, which clearly demonstrates an utter contempt for the rule of law."

Matt Mosk

By Phyllis Jordan  |  March 7, 2006; 6:45 PM ET
Categories:  Same-Sex Marriage  
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Just more proof that Dwyer is a right wing nut. How do these people get elected? He doesn't like the ruling so therefore the judge should be impeached. Does he even realize what an absurd precedent that would set? I'm glad they walked out. This kind of nonsense is offensive to our system of government.

Posted by: Mr. K | March 8, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Don Dwyer is the biggest loser in the Maryland general assembly. As a voter in his district, I am ashamed that this waste-of-flesh somehow is supposed to represent me.

When you call his office - as I have - his aides that answer the phone will tell you that "Delegate Dwyer does not hate homosexuals and is not a homophobe as he's been portrayed."

That might be right; Dwyer is such a backwards moron, I don't think he's got the brains to rationalize his hatred.

Posted by: corbett | March 8, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I think its a brilliant idea. Maybe Delegate Dwyer will join me in impeaching all the Republican appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court who appointed George W. Bush President in the bizarre decision in Bush v. Gore. Talk about violating the public trust... As Delegate Dwyer suggests, if we don't like a judicial decision - impeach the judges. This could be fun. Justice on whim.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

The theoretical has become our reality. Some time has passed since the Massachusetts court set off this issue. It has now come to roost in Maryland. The questions has, unfortunately, polarized the public; no one has addressed the issue. Let me suggest a very conservative position -- lets get government out of the issue. Have the legislature simply provide for a "civil union" which will carry with it all the rights and privileges formerly associated with marriage. The legislation would also provide that churches could continue to "marry" individual who met their respective criteria, understanding that such services would have no legal effect.
In this way, the churches could maintain the alleged sacredness of "marriage" and the state could protect the rights of all its citizens. As Christ said, "Render unto Caesar, the things that are Caesar's, and unto God, the things that are God's."

Posted by: T. Carney | March 8, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

T, that's all well and good, but doesn't a "civil union" by law that is the exact same as "marriage" just create a system of "separate but equal"?

When I asked someone one Dwyer's staff this same question, she said "Yes, that's fine." Then I reminded her that that funny thing called the Supreme Court struck down "separate but equal" in 1954.

If we revise your plan to call all licensed relationships "civil unions" instead of only same-sex ones, then I think that works fine, and save the term "marriage" for what you get in a house of worship.

Posted by: corbett | March 8, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Corbett, I believe that is exactly what T. Carney was suggesting. The government will only perform civil unions and the religious community would only perform marriages, which would have no legal standing, only symbolic.

Posted by: Silver Spring | March 8, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

That sounds like way too rational a solution. I don't think anyone is going to buy in.

Posted by: Mr. K | March 8, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Responding to T. Carney's post, we already have "civil unions." Its called civil marriage, which has been, for over 100 years, distinct from religious marriages sanctified by clergy. In Maryland, as in every other state in the country, one can get a civil marriage license from the state whether the marriage is sanctioned by a clergy member or not. Just because clergy are one of several persons who can officiate at a marriage ceremony and sign a marriage certificate does not mean that marriage is not a purely legal and civil institution. And the lawsuit about marriage equality would not change anything about the religious involvement in marriage. Clergy would still be able to decide which unions they want to sanction, just as they do now (witness the many clergy who will not perform interfaith marriages, or who will not marry someone who has been divorced but not received an annulment, etc.). Our civil marriage laws don't mirror the strictures of any one religious faith, nor could or should they. Civil unions don't change anything in this respect, they just use a different term so that the presumed majority can continue to express its view that gay and lesbian relationships are inferior. That's not a legitimate governmental interest, particularly when we agree that they should be entitled to the same legal rights and responsibilities.

Posted by: Dave | March 8, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Dwyer is a right-wing nutjob, but Judge Murdock is just as much of a left-wing radical. This is a case of legislating from the bench by a lawyer who couldn't keep a job in a law practice.

Posted by: Frank | March 8, 2006 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Now Frank, that's a bit harsh on the Judge. I sure hope you have facts to back that up and not just an old grudge.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, it seems like we're mostly in agreement here on this entry... now if only politics really worked so well in Annapolis (or Washington, or Richmond, or... well, you get the picture).

Posted by: corbett | March 9, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

All members of the General Assembly are given the right to represent their views, introduce bills, and so on, on behalf of their constituents. Del. Dwyer exercised that right and it failed in committee. 35 members of the House of Delegates walking out because they don't have the balls to sit down and listen to Del. Dwyer's argument; and even blocking the cameras so the people would not be able to make their own conclusion (which at the end is the only thing that matters), is childish and disrespectful. The General Assembly has been ruled by a bunch of Democrats who are unfair and unjust. Speaker Michael Busch calls a (Republican) member of the House out of order because he makes a motion on the floor that Mr. Speaker didn't like! You didn't see Speaker Busch called all 35 Democrats out of order when they walked out of the floor. Those members should've listened to Del. Dwyer and give him the benefit of the doubt. Members are required to be in the floor under the Rules, unless they have to go and use the potty.

I am a Republican and I agree with most of you all here. Delegate Dwyer is getting too carried away with this gay marriage issue. But I think a courtesy of respect must be given to all members, Republicans or Democrats. As Governor Ehrlich said, "this is Capitol Hill assasin" that have taken over the State House

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

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