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What Next for Same-Sex Marriage?

Yesterday's long-awaited Court of Appeals ruling upholding Maryland's ban on same-sex marriage took many on both sides of the issue by surprise. Gay rights advocates and opponents alike had expected a scenario similar to the one that played out last year in New Jersey, where the court ruled the gay-marriage ban unconstitutional and tasked the legislature with finding a remedy. The result was legalization of civil unions.

Many lawmakers in Annapolis and aides to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) were relieved when the ruling did not mandate legislative action at a time when the state's budget shortfall is consuming them. But they probably shouldn't relax.

Same-sex marriage looks as if it will be front and center when lawmakers return to Annapolis for their annual session in January--with advocates pressing for full marriage rights and opponents pushing an amendment to the state constitution banning such unions.

In past years, legislation on both sides has gained little traction.

"It has been a complete standoff with neither side able to gain enough votes to push the ball across the goal line," said Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. A domestic partnership registry cleared the legislature in 2005, only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

A big unkown is the governor, who said during his campaign last year and again yesterday that he backs civil unions. Advocates for gay rights will look to him for leadership on the issue. But will he champion their cause? Or let lawmakers fight their own battle?

By Lisa Rein  |  September 19, 2007; 8:25 AM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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Comments

Let them marry. They should be just as miserable as straight married men.

Posted by: Bethesda | September 19, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I feel the same way about black people getting married. It's immoral. We should ban it. Oh wait, it's illegal to discriminate and prevent people from getting married based on who or what they are. Maybe at some point the religious nutbags who are against this will realize that discrimination is discrimination, whether it's based on race, sex, or religion. People should really learn to direct their focus on important things. Who cares who gets married? Does 2 men getting married honestly impact your life? Does it honestly somehow make your existence worse? People need to grow up and come out of the dark ages.

Posted by: Mark | September 19, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy that the MD. Ct. of Appeals
realized that marriage is a wholesome
tradition that shouldn't be perverted
by same-sex marriage. I hope that many
other states will have the guts to
do the same thing.

Posted by: Hank, Deerfield Bch FL | September 19, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Why does anyone care if there is gay marriage, if you aren't gay? We can dance around it all we want, but marriage is a legal contract and shouldn't everyone have access to the same legal contracts?

It is best summed up by a comedian
"What about gay marriage"
"Don't care, I'm not gonna marry a dude."

Posted by: MD ex-pat | September 19, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

For most married couples, a "civil union" would be an improvement. Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Les Bean | September 19, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

So many homophobic Republicans, so few closets.

Maryland cannot stop homosexuals from getting married, just as Maryland can't stop hetrosexual married couples from cheating on one another, getting divorced and destroying the lives of their children.

If you want to actually defend marriage and protect the children then Maryland should outlaw divorce and adultery.

Posted by: Kevin Schmidt, Sterling VA | September 19, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse


Same sex marriage is a lie. There is no right to re-define marriage.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse


1. Union of man and woman
2. Exclusive
3. Permanent
4. Presumably fertile

No more lies about marriage to force approval of gay sex.

Posted by: Smitty | September 19, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I am a straight, Sunday-school teaching soccer mom. But even I can see that it is unfair that gay and lesbian people still often don't have access to their partners' health insurance. They sometimes don't get automatic access to their partners' hospital rooms. They don't get bereavement leave. This is not fair. We should have civil unions in Maryland and our governor should stand up for what is right.

Posted by: Katherine | September 19, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Please leave people alone. What is wrong with 2-people wish to declare a union? Why religious concervatives are again, like abortion, making this a crises? I am a married Dad with two young children and perfectly fine with Gays, Lesbians getting married, establishing a civil union. Let's respect people and be civilized.

Posted by: Please respect | September 20, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

We're already married--in our churches or synagogues, or in other commitment ceremonies. We've got shared mortgages and checking accounts, and we make important decisions together. And many of us are raising children.

What we don't have is legal recognition of the reality of all this. We are couples, with shared rights and responsibilities. It's past time for the law to recognize that, legally.

Posted by: Linguist | September 20, 2007 6:14 AM | Report abuse

1. Union of two people who live their lives as one.
2. Exclusive
3. Permanent
4. Many raise children. Many do not. Many are past the age of bearing children. Many never could.

No more lies about marriage being about fertility. My 70-year old aunt wasn't fertile when she married.

Marriage is about living your life as one--shared mortgage, shared bills, shared lives. It's time the law recognize the reality of people's lives, rather than the other way round.

Posted by: Linguist | September 20, 2007 6:17 AM | Report abuse


All gays get to visit who they want in the hospital (everyone does) and are free to leave property to their partners (everyone is) without re-defining marriage. There is no practical reasons to force marriage.

Again, this is about approval of gay sex.

Posted by: Smitty | September 20, 2007 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Smitty: "All gays get to visit who they want in the hospital (everyone does) and are free to leave property to their partners (everyone is) without re-defining marriage. There is no practical reasons to force marriage."

You're simply wrong about this. You can say it as many times as you want, but that doesn't make it right.

"... this is about approval of gay sex."

Approval? What does that mean? Do you want to personally approve the sex acts that I choose to participate in? No? Who, then?

I don't care if you approve of my sexual practices or not. Not even a little bit. Personally, I find *your* sexual practices disgusting and barf-inducing, but I'm not running around trying to prevent you from doing what you want. Why do you think you have a right or responsibility to do this to me?

Gay sex is a fact of life. Always has been, always will be. Nothing you can ever do or say is going to change that.

Posted by: Stephen | September 20, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately for us, this ruling means that government cannot force us to recognize the fiction of "same-sex marriage."

This was a victory for truth about all else.

Posted by: Another Marylander | September 20, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

My view is simple for the legislature: no gay marriage and no civil unions and no gay unions. Just leave the law the way it is. Interestingly enough, it looks as if they might do just that. I sure pray they do. Thank God for the decent ruling from the Maryland Court of Appeals. As for Governor O'Malley, I don't trust him, but I think that he probably knows this is a loser issue. Just look at Elliot Spitzer over in New York. He didn't score any points by rejecting the will of a majority of New Yorkers and supporting gay marriage htere (which failed in the legislature). Spitzer's invincible aura has subsided dramatically since then.

Posted by: Steve | September 20, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I feel that Gay marriages is NASTY AND WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YALL NEED TO GO TO CHURCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GOD MADE ADAM AND EVE NOT ADAM AND STEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: lakreasha | September 20, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

hell they like da same they got jst lettem get married

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow, bigots are so stupid, but then again I guess that's what makes them bigots.

There is no logical or legal reasoning to deny same sex couples all the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage. It's quite simple. It's called EQUALITY.

Posted by: Paul | September 20, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

lakreasha,

Given the way you feel, the solution is simple: DON'T HAVE A GAY MARRIAGE! Problem solved!

I, however, am deeply in love with my partner of several decades. We share a house, a mortgage, bills, decisions; we share our lives. And it's time that the LAW catch up with the reality of our lives, NOT the other way around.

Please, have a little respect for others. What makes this such a wonderful country is that YOU get to live your life the way YOU want, and I get to live my life the way I want. Why can't you accept that the law should treat us as equals? We are, after all.

As for God, He lives in my heart, and He knows love and commitement when He sees it. He not only created Adam and Eve, He also created me, and Steve, and billions of others, all unique. And some of us are gay. Peace.

Posted by: Linguist | September 20, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Marriage is about establishing kinship. Given the marriage tax penalty, conservatives should support opening marriage equally to same-sex couples, and benefit from the extra tax revenue to help pay off the war their president started.

Posted by: gary47290 | September 20, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

People who say they believe marriage is between a man and a woman and use that as a reason for not allowing gay marriage remind me of those old Southern bigots who used to say if God wanted black people to be equal, he would have made them white.

Posted by: franc | September 21, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

My wife and I have gay and lesbian couples among our friends. Their committed, monogamous relationships have had no effect whatsoever on our heterosexual marriage. If they were married, that wouldn't have any effect on our marriage, either.
Why is it that the same people who are scared s**tless of the effects they think homosexual unions might have on heterosexual marriage manage to support the likes of Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan, Rudi Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and all the other Republican "leaders" who don't seem to have understood the "'til death do us part" aspect of their marriages?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 21, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about Maryland!!! You have better places in the world who are civilized and understand that discriminating against gay people is discriminating against everyone, it is wrong, crule and irrational.

Those of you whos ay gay marriage is not necessary are obviously not informed well or plain simlpe don't care. Gay couples don't have access to any rights in most of the hostile homophobic macho dominated "land of the free" USA.

Bravo to Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, UK, France, Argentina, Mexico, Switzerland, Iceland, Finland, Israel, Germany, Czech Republic, Brazil, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Chile, Hungary, Uruguay, Italy and Colombia.

Most of these countries offer gay marriage, federal civil unions or wide domestic partnerships that address the issue of the majority oppressing minorities.

There are crucial rights gay couples need access to and currently denied many face a grim and trying existence in the Mighty US of A.

Only a matter of time, hang in there, the change is out there

Posted by: Serge | September 21, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Marriage integrates the sexes and provides contingency for responsible procreation.

This is extrinsic to all one-sexed arrangements, regardless of sexual behavior.

The Maryland Court decision shows that Justice Marshall in Massachusetts wrote a reckless and unjust opinion that attacked the nature of marriage and imposed a merger of nonmarriage with marriage in that state. It is a localized error that the country should reject and that the people of the state ought to have the opportunity, in a direct vote of the people, to correct.

What is the core, the essence, the nature of the sort of relationship type that SSMers would have the government recognize with a relationship status, at law?

Since SSMers are happy to have a purely government created status, what are the definitive legal requirements of such a status, based on the core of the relationshp type?

Relationship statuses are about twosomes, or moresomes, not about lone individuals, obviouisly. So what would be the elibility criteria for a relationship status that fits the one-sex-short combination(s)?

SSM, or civil union (which is SSM in all but name0, ought to be made to stand on its own two feet rather than bieng hoisted up onto the back of the social institution of marriage. SSMers reject, and attack, the nature of marriage so they should propose their alternative basis for a relationship status, at law.

They talk of protections and argue against preferential status for marriage; so how are they in favor of a merely protective status? A tolerated status?

Provision for designated beneficiaries already exists for nonmarital arrangements. Would SSM or Civil Union exclude people who could use the protections or the tolerance that the SSM campaigns claims in the name of gay identity politics? This is a test of the "equality" that campaign says it promotes.

Posted by: Chairm | September 23, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I would like to say that our country was founded on the Holy Bible that clearly states it is an abomination for a man to lie with another man.
If you want an immoral country where they pervert the act of marraige, then go to one of these other countries and leave us alone to the country our forefathers founded to worship Jesus according to the bible, and not according to what you think.

Posted by: Bible Believer | September 24, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Bible Believer--Neither the North American colonies nor the United States was "founded to worship Jesus according to the bible." Many of the founding fathers were Deists who didn't buy into your legalistic notion of religion. And unlike many of today's literalists, they realized that the text of what they regarded as the Bible had been translated numerous times, often for reasons that had more to do with politics within churches than with religion.
Is marriage not perverted when people like Rudy Giuliani flagrantly cheats on his wife before finally divorcing her, when people like Newt Gingrich have divorce papers delivered to spouses who are hospitalized and recovering from major surgery, when people like Tom Davis and Jeanmarie Devolites break up two marriages with children to marry each other? Why don't you narrow-minded gay bashers go after all who pervert marriage--or go after none?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't like gay marriage?

Don't have one! Just because you don't want to get married to someone the same sex as you, doesn't mean you have the right to stop other people.

Posted by: Ezri | September 25, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Ok so I don't know much about the legal this and that about this issue. But here is what I do know,that people are arguing that this country was founded on the holy bible and this and that but i thought that it was founded on the FREEDOM of religion. and though i havnt even reached my 20's I know that there is NOTHING wrong with same- sex marriage or civil unions. my mom divorced my dad when I was very young. I grew up with a lesbian mom i know let people gasp and look horrified or whatever you please. Though I was too young to understand about being GAY and what that ment for today's society I knew that all I wanted was for my mom to be happy with who ever she chose male or FEMALE. And I grew up knowing that there is nothing wrong with being gay strait or other wise. and I bet that everyone knows someone that's gay on the inside.. what if that person was your best friend would you disown that person if he or she was gay? what is the matter with you people. you cannot argue for the sake of the childeren because the childeren are speaking for themselves now. My mom AND my grandmother are happily married thanks to the state of Mass. SO why can't everyone? I don't care if you're white, black, gay, strait, christian,or jewish BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE!!!!

Posted by: Lexi | September 29, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

That's a great post Lexi. The children of gay parents will continue to speak for themselfs in greater numbers as time progresses. And people will find out that some of those families are happy and nuturing and some are failures, just like straight families. Because gay or straight, people are really just the same, and desearve the same civil rights to protect their families. Someday "gay marriage" will just be marriage and most normal people will wonder why such a big deal was created over something that is really obvious. Equality isn't equality unless everyone has it and equality require the choice in choosing the person one marries.

Posted by: warcwulf | October 2, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

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