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Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 02/17/2011

Md. senators told to expect long week of same-sex marriage debate

By John Wagner

Thumbnail image for mike miller.jpgMaryland senators should expect a long week ahead of debate on same-sex marriage, the chamber's president said Thursday.

"You might want to keep your evenings open and clear your schedule next weekend," Senate President Thomas v. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) told his colleagues before adjourning for the day.

The Judicial Proceedings Committee is expected to give a favorable recommendation to the legislation Thursday afternoon. Seven of the panel's 11 members have said they support the bill, which would remove Maryland's requirement that marriage be between a man and a woman.

After some procedural motions on the Senate floor early next week, debate will probably begin in earnest Wednesday, Miller said, with a final vote possible over the weekend.

With opponents likely to attempt a filibuster, Miller said he plans to "let everyone have their say" before bringing a motion to the floor to cut off debate.

The final vote on the bill is expected to be very close. A Post tally published this week showed 24 senators having said they would support the bill -- the bare minimum needed for passage.

The tally includes Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore), who said in an interview last week that she would vote for the bill if she were the deciding vote. Conway has been more equivocal in interviews with other publications, saying she is "still praying" over what to do.

In a brief interview Thursday, Conway told The Post that she is "going to do the right thing" but would not elaborate on what that is.

Two other members who remain undeclared -- Sens. John C. Astle (D-Anne Arundel) and James C. Rosapepe (D-Prince George's) -- brushed off questions from reporters Thursday.

"You'll see it on the board," Astle said of his vote.

Rosapepe repeated his pledge to announce his intentions by the end of this week.

Miller, who opposes the legislation, said he is sticking with a prediction that it will pass on a vote of 24 to 23 or 25 to 22.

If the bill passes the Senate, it next moves to the House.

By John Wagner  | February 17, 2011; 11:39 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly, John Wagner, Same-Sex Marriage  
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Comments

Why all of this debate and hand-wringing? If you're not gay or not attending a same-sex wedding, same-sex marriage has NOTHING to do with you. NOTHING. And if you're not gay and you think marriage equality will somehow affect the relationship you have with your opposite-sex partner, then you have problems with your relationship; stop blaming those problems on gay and lesbian people. And if your happiness depends on denying other, mutually-consenting adults their happiness, work it out in therapy.

Posted by: danfromnva1 | February 17, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I guess these kinds of debate are more fun for them than the "balancing the budget" debate, or perhaps the "why are they stealing from the transportation fund to balance the budget" debate?

In a rational world, we'd send these guys packing, by ballot preferably, by torches and pitchforks if necessary.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 17, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

danfromnva1 wrote:

"Why all of this debate and hand-wringing? If you're not gay or not attending a same-sex wedding, same-sex marriage has NOTHING to do with you. NOTHING."
_____________________

Do you live with your partner on an island somewhere in the Southern Ocean, or are you and your partner living participating members of our Western society?

Changing the definition of marriage affects EVERYONE.

It finally and completely disconnects society's view of marriage from heterosexual procreation.

Therefore, it could affect the out of wedlock birthrate, which is a current social concern.

It says that the basic family unit is no longer mother father. That may or may not be a good thing, but it is certainly is an important concern for everyone who is a member of our society.

It says that male female monogamy is no longer a social concern, as it is not clear how same sex marriages will encompass traditional views of monogamy.
That doesn't say that all str8s necessarily maintain monogamy, but it may change the ideal strived for in a stable marriage.

Golly gee, I wonder how you see your participation in the greater society??

Posted by: captn_ahab | February 17, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"It finally and completely disconnects society's view of marriage from heterosexual procreation."

"Therefore, it could affect the out of wedlock birthrate, which is a current social concern."

"It says that the basic family unit is no longer mother father."

"It says that male female monogamy is no longer a social concern."

"It may change the ideal strived for in a stable marriage."

Is there even the smallest scintilla of evidence to suggest that any of these will result if the state of Maryland allows same-sex couples to marry? This is the most bizarre parade of horribles -- "finally and completely disconnects society's view of marriage from heterosexual procreation"? What does that even mean? And what does allowing committed same-sex couples to marry have to do with opposite-sex monogamy? The two issues are simply not related to each other.

I wish people -- on both sides -- who care deeply about this issue could discuss it on the same plane, but the two worldviews are just too different. Then again, the people in the mushy middle matter most, agree fully with neither group, and are moving slowly but surely in our direction.

Referendum 2012 -- bring it on.

Posted by: boomer400 | February 17, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Nothing that Capt Ahab is claiming is even an iota CLOSE to true.

Excuse me, capt ahab, but what would you know about me and my husbands commitment, to include our decisions to be monogamous? Let alone, YOUR decision to be monogamous (or not I suspect in your right-wing hypocritical delusional reality-denying perspective)?

Posted by: dougreimel | February 18, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

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