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Posted at 12:13 PM ET, 01/28/2011

Hearing set on Md. same-sex marriage bill

By John Wagner

A Feb. 8 hearing has been set on one of the most high-profile issues before the Maryland General Assembly this year: legalizing marriage between same-sex couples.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will take up a bill sponsored by Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery) that removes a provision in current Maryland law limiting marriages to those between a man and a woman.

The hearing date signals that lawmakers may deal with the issue earlier in their 90-day session than is often the case with controversial bills. Committees typically do not vote on the same day that a hearing is held, but a majority of members on the Senate panel have already publicly expressed support for the legislation.

A vote on the Senate floor is expected to be close, but advocates of same-sex marriage believe the chances of passage this year have significantly increased.

In recent years, the Senate has been seen as a bigger hurdle for the legislation that the House, which tends to be more liberal on social issues. Both chambers are dominated by Democrats.

By John Wagner  | January 28, 2011; 12:13 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly, John Wagner  
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Comments

Bravo to the Maryland lawmakers who are moving this important piece of civil rights legislation forward!

Posted by: bgd1964 | January 28, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

its about time.

Posted by: MarilynManson | January 28, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

It's time. Those of us who appreciate the benefits of married life should be generous and fair-minded enough to extend those benefits to same-sex couples. Churches can make whatever rules they think God requires, but civil marriage is a civil right.

Posted by: pundito | January 28, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

These Maryland legislators need to get it that gay "marriage" is absolutely NOT want the voters want. In every state where they have been allowed to vote on this issue, the voters have said NO. In New Hampshire, they said NO to the legislators who tried to force this on them and they WILL be repealing it shortly in that state. I suggest that the Maryland legislature listen to the voters and leave marriage the way it belongs: between one man and one woman.

Posted by: klgrube | January 28, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse

For KLGrube,

Prior to Loving in 1967, interracial marriage had been barred in 16 states, most of them former slave states now controlled by people who purportedly belong to the "Party of Lincoln." In some states, interracial marriage was not just barred, it was criminal. This is still well within the living memory of tens of millions of Americans, including two of America's most prominent miscegenists, Clarence Thomas and Mitch McConnell.

And as recently as 2004, four decades after Loving, 40% of Alabama voters voted to keep the bar on interracial marriage in the state constitution.

I know nothing about you, but I do have one question. Do you think that people should have the right to vote on whether YOU and YOUR spouse should have the right to be married?

Posted by: edallan | January 29, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Gay marriage is just WRONG. It's not the way Nature intended humans to act. The whole thing has nothing to do with civil rights and everything to do with money and the extreme left side of the Dem party.

Posted by: VikingRider | January 29, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

@VikingRider wrote, "Gay marriage is just WRONG. It's not the way Nature intended humans to act. The whole thing has nothing to do with civil rights and everything to do with money and the extreme left side of the Dem party. "


kpharmer says BIGOTRY is just WRONG. It's not the way nature intended humans to act. No one is born a bigot, and every bigot can change from hatred and narrow-mindedness to loving kindness and compassion if they so desire.

The issue of marriage equality has everything to do with civil rights and nothing to do with money or the extreme left side of the Democratic party.

The simple fact is that same-sex marriage will have absolutely no effect on you or your marriage unless you are part of a same-sex couple.

I do not understand why people who oppose the right to civil marriage for same-sex couples think they have an interest in the issue. No one will try to force you to enter into a same-sex marriage or relationship. No one will try to force any church or religious organization to perform same-sex marriages.

The only thing that same-sex marriage does is to make same-sex couples' relationships equally recognized under the law, with the added benefit of allowing same-sex couples to be happy.

Although some people might find the idea of encouraging happiness and stability for same-sex couples to be an anathema, I, for one, think it should be encouraged.

Posted by: kpharmer | January 31, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

If this bill passes, current tax break projections must be revised, as the number of combinations for eligibility will rise. Our economy, which is based on biological productivity is already frail enough. The lowered birth rate encouraged by such legislation coupled with the inevitable increased tax burden on singles and businesses will bring about the collapse of Maryland's economy. Those who advocate approval of this bill are only hastening the fall of one of the 13 original colonies.

Posted by: man4sanity | February 1, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

If this bill passes, current tax break projections must be revised, as the number of combinations for eligibility will rise. Our economy, which is based on biological productivity is already frail enough. The lowered birth rate encouraged by such legislation coupled with the inevitable increased tax burden on singles and businesses could bring about the collapse of Maryland's economy. To avoid this, taxes must be raised across the board. This is at best a no win bill, regardless of one's moral or "civil rights" position.

Posted by: man4sanity | February 1, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@man4sanity, do you also advocate restricting marriage rights for infertile opposite-sex couples? How about for opposite-sex couples whose choice is to be child-free? Or elderly couples whose biological ability to procreate has passed?

Since Maryland does not require the ability or desire to procreate as a prerequisite to marriage, and since having a same-sex orientation does not render people barren your claim is not logically supportable.

No one loses anything when this bill is passed. Same-sex couples gain legal recognition of their relationships with all of the attendant privileges, responsibilities and benefits accorded to civil marriage.

I have yet to see one logically supported argument against same-sex marriage. Yours was a good try, but there are no facts to support your assertion that same-sex marriage will destroy Maryland's economy.

Posted by: kpharmer | February 1, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Same sex marriage is an abomination. See Leviticus, chapter 20. Even in dark blue Maryland, the voters do not want it. The legislature is taking up this issue early in the session in hopes that fewer people notice what the legislature is up to. The legislature is taking it up this year, because they will have nearly four full years before the next State elections. If this goes through, more Marylanders will leave the State, also.
Democrats stand for these things: abortion; same-sex marriage; high taxes on the productive citizens; and high spending on the non-productive citizens (in order to buy their votes). Democrats are truly a low-life, Godless bunch.

Posted by: lawyerhale | February 2, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@lawyerhale, I don't care what you think your holy book says. My guess is that you really don't care either, because if you did you would advocate killing disobedient children, banning cotton and linen fabric, selling your daughter into slavery, closure of every restaurant that sells shellfish, etc.

My Southern Baptist family is Democrat. Your assertion that Democrats are godless is simple hyperbole and has no basis in fact.

I would say that Democrats stand for individual liberty, unlike some Republicans, who loathe regulating business and commerce but who relish regulating the private behavior of individuals. The willingness of some Republicans to interfere in the private lives of our citizens puts them on the same level as any low-life I can think of.

The fact is that same-sex marriage will have no effect on you whatsoever. You will still be able to post your odious opinions, and you will still be free to hate gay and lesbian people.

I don't see how you have any interest in the issue of same-sex marriage. Nothing in your life will change. So-called traditional marriage will not change.

You cannot use the power and resources of the government to force compliance with your religious dogma on others. Freedom of religion must include freedom from religion, or there is no freedom at all.

Posted by: kpharmer | February 2, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

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