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Posted at 5:10 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Senate GOP leader in Md. to push for civil unions

By John Wagner

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Kittleman.jpgSenate Minority Leader Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) announced Wednesday that he would sponsor legislation in the upcoming session that would allow civil unions between both heterosexual and same-sex partners.

The move by the chamber's top Republican comes as gay rights groups are gearing up to push for legalization of same-sex unions in Maryland. November's elections appear to have significantly bolstered prospects for passage of such a bill.

Kittleman said his bill would give couples who are united through civil unions the same benefits available to married partners but would also "protect the rights of religious institutions to define marriage as they choose."

"I am a strong believer in personal liberty and freedom," Kittleman said in a statement. "I believe that we have an opportunity to make Maryland a more fair state, a more just state and a state which treats all of its citizens equally under the law."

The bill would remove a state requirement that a marriage be between a man and woman. There are also provisions to ensure that religious groups opposed to same-sex unions not be required to perform such marriages.

By John Wagner  | January 5, 2011; 5:10 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly, John Wagner, Same-Sex Marriage  
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During the last few months, I have gained a great deal of respect for Senator Kittleman. Thank you, Sir, for being an independent thinker.

Posted by: lacy41 | January 5, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Oooooohhhhh....."Bishop" Jackson head gonna splode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: watsonja | January 5, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

So is this bill for same-sex marriage or same-sex unions? There's a difference. The headline indicates that it's for marriage, but throughout the rest of the article, marriage and union are used interchangeably. From what I understand, Equality Maryland, the main glbt group in the state, is pushing for same-sex marriage, not civil unions. No matter what the vehicle, kudos to Senator Kittleman for helping to advance marriage equality.

Posted by: graphchick1 | January 5, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Only marriage will be equal and only marriage is acceptable.

Posted by: charlesvilagboy | January 5, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

This is great. Thank you Senator Kittleman.

I read this as existing marriages will be grandfathered and will continue to be called marriage; but all new unions (straight or gay) going forward will be called a civil union and not marriage.

Call marriage what it really is, it is a civil contract. Someone finally got it!!!!

Posted by: 4LaneOxonHillRoad | January 5, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

my thoughts are, let the concept of "mawiaj" (viz. Peter Cook in the Princess Bride) die a natural death... it is the remnants of a feudal society, and it is time for it to DIE DIE DIE... then "civil unions" or whatever you want to call it, could achieve legal precedence and we wouldn't have to tapdance around the pseudo-mores of the religious and self-righteous.
THERE IS NO PLACE FOR DARK AGES SUPERSTITION IN MODERN LAW AND POLICY. Then you can show all the child-molesting "brothers of God" the door. To prison.

Posted by: lambcannon | January 5, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember her name, but there was a fantastic speech on the floor of the New York State Senate by a state senator who described a discussion she got into with a gentleman getting out of a cab there. She said "marriage is simply a contract between two people, administered by the government to guarantee certain rights and responsibilities be conferred on each party." Guess what, a civil union is the same thing, (as long as all of those protections are truly included.) 4Lane has it right - if people can get over the names, everyone can come away happy.
Unfortunately, I think this is going to get hijacked by the extreme ends of both sides of the aisle before the dust finally settles.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | January 5, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I dont think that all marriages going forward will be called civil unions re the state contract. While leaving the word marriage as only a religious artifact with no legal significance. - Rights vs Rites.

thats the way it should be, but if you aren't married eg for heteros, they most likely would lose the federal benefits. The opposition would be ferocious.

We'll ahve to wait for DOMA to die on that one. And also have the issue of whether CUs str8 or gay are recognized in other states.

And what about DC gay marriages here.

its a mess, but history makes it so.

Posted by: SJames6621 | January 6, 2011 2:40 AM | Report abuse

Homosexuality is not a sin according to the Bible. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, prostitution, and rape, not homosexuality.

(Change *** to www)

Posted by: shadow_man | January 6, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

As an example above, let's examine corinthians. Homosexuality is not a sin.

Corinthians 6:9-11
Let us examine that very closely.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor homosexual offenders [arsenokoites], nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

First of all, before we address this line, let us consider one thing. Supposedly taken from a 2000+ year old book, understand that the word "homosexual" was not coined until 1869 by Austrian-born novelist Karl-Maria Kertbeny. So how it happens to be included in a true reading of the particular biblical passage should make you ponder how accurate the interpretation actually is. So man changing the words of the Bible to conveniently spread hate? I think so.

Now onto the interpretation, i've included the original Greek words as well where it's relevant.

Paul was attempting to educate the new Christians in Corinth as to what Godly living was all about. In verses 9-10, he listed ways of living that were not compatible with a Christ-centered life. In verse 11, Paul reminded them that they had been saved out of those destructive ways. There are two Greek words in I Corinthians 6:9, which sometimes are translated with a homosexual connotation.

First word, "malakoi" or "malakos" - it literally means soft or mushy; it can mean spineless, wishy-washy or without backbone. "Malakoi" was used four other times in the New Testament and it always meant "soft." The context of I Corinthians seems to imply a moral softness or decadence, a failure to stand up for what is right and godly. It is significant that for several hundred years there was no sexual connotation assigned to this word.

Second word, "arsenokoitai" or "arsenokoites" - it literally means, "males having sex." Early commentaries on I Corinthians related "arsenokoitai" to male temple prostitutes and to men having sex with boys. (Idolatrous prostitution and pedophilia are always wrong for those seeking to honor God.)

Homosexual relationships were known in the Greco-Roman culture of Paul's day. The Greek word commonly used in reference to adult male same sex partners was "arrenokoites." Paul did not use this word. Instead, he created his own, "arsenokoitai." If Paul had intended to condemn all adult male same sex partners, he would have used the common word for it.

Posted by: shadow_man | January 6, 2011 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don't choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. If you can, sorry, but you are not heterosexual, you are bi-sexual. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological.

(Change *** to www)
Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases. "Nurture" may have some effect, but for the most part it is biological.

And it should also be noted that:
"It is worth noting that many medical and scientific organizations do believe it is impossible to change a person's sexual orientation and this is displayed in a statement by American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and National Education Association."

Posted by: shadow_man | January 6, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The National Library of Medicine pubs confirm that sexual orientation is natural, biologically induced in the first trimester of pregnancy, morally neutral, immutable, neither contagious nor learned, bearing no relation to an individuals ability to form deep and lasting relationships, to parent children, to work or to contribute to society.

From the American Psychological Association: homosexuality is normal; homosexual relationships are normal.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Asociation and American Psychiatric Asociation have endorsed civil marriage for same-sex couples because marriage strengthens mental and physical health and longevity of couples, and provides greater legal and financial security for children, parents and seniors.

America's premier child/mental health associations endorse marriage equality.

Posted by: shadow_man | January 6, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

This was taken from another poster that shows why we need to legalize gay marriage. If you don't feel for this person after reading it, you simply aren't human.

"I am not sure what our President thinks of this dicission but coming from a poor family and knowing what discrimination is all about I would assume he would not care if "Gays" have equal rights. The whole reason why they are asking for rights to be considered married is from the same reason why I would be for it. My own life partner commited suicide in our home with a gun to his heart. After a 28 year union I was deprived to even go his funeral. We had two plots next to each other. But because we did not have a marriage cirtificate "(Legal Document)" of our union his mother had him cremated and his ashes taken back to Missouri where we came from. That is only one example how painful it is. His suicide tramatized me so much and her disregard for my feelings only added to my heartach. That happened on March 21 of 2007 and I still cannot type this without crying for the trauma I have to endure each day. Oh did I mention I am in an electric wheelchair for life? Yes I am and it is very diffacult to find another mate when you are 58 and in a wheelchair. "

Posted by: shadow_man | January 6, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Call it what you want I’ll choose to call same sex unions illegitimate and an abomination. Just because you put a dog in a stall does not make it a horse

Posted by: cheverly1 | January 6, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Hooray for Sen. Kittleman! Let's create a special legal category for gays and call it equal! & then let's ask those people who can't get a fully-sustained relationship to be happy for their 2nd class status. Hooray! Hooray!

Posted by: nycjim | January 6, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Here in CT we passed a civil union law in 2005 and a marriage equality law in 2008.

And since then couples have been coming here from all across the country to wed.

Joe Mustich, Justice of the Peace,
Red Studio Farm, Washington, CT USA

Marriage equality is the way to go. I officiated at the marriages of couples who have been together for 25, 30 and 45 years..

I've been with my spouse for 31 years.

Posted by: cornetmustich | January 6, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

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