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Posted at 1:44 PM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Md. House ends debate for the day on same-sex marriage

By John Wagner

Thumbnail image for MD-OpeningDay-House.JPG

Update, 1:30 p.m.: The House will resume debate on the bill Friday, according to Alexandra M. Hughes, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel).

Delegates on both side of the debate say they expect the final vote to be very close.

"It's one of those unusual circumstances that's hard to predict," said House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery).

Update, 12 p.m.: The House has wrapped up debate for the day on the same-sex marriage bill Wednesday after rejecting four amendments. A final vote on the legislation is expected later in the week.

The House narrowly rejected an amendment on a 72 to 63 vote that would have made the enactment of the same-sex marriage bill contingent on the failure of a statewide vote to write a ban on same-sex marriages into the Constitution.

Supporters of the amendment argued that it would ensure a public vote on same-sex marriage. Opponents said it was so cumbersome that it would effectively kill the bill.

The House also voted 86 to 54 against an amendment that would have allowed parents to opt their children out of sex education programs that reference same-sex relationships because of religious beliefs. Teachers could have opted out under the amendment, as well. Opponents said such provisions are already part of existing education regulations and don't belong in the bill.

The House also voted 52 to 85 against an amendment that would have changed the title of the bill from the "Civil Marriage Protection Act" to the "Same-sex Marriage Act."

Update, 11:10 a.m.: House debate on proposed amendments got under away about 10:45 a.m.

The House has rejected on a 79 to 58 vote an amendment that would allow religious-affiliated adoption agencies, such as Catholic Charities, to refuse services to same-sex couples. Opponents of the amendment argued that it violated an existing anti-discrimination law.

Original post: Debate over a same-sex marriage bill is expected to begin Wednesday morning in the Maryland House of Delegates, with supporters seeking to fend off a slew of amendments that could make passage of the law more difficult.

A final vote on the high-profile legislation could come later in the week.

The House is scheduled to convene at 10 a.m. and take up the same-sex marriage bill after handling some other business. Audio of the floor session is available here. We will provide live updates of major developments in this space as debate continues.

House leaders are angling to pass the bill in the same form that it cleared the Senate so that it can be sent directly to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) for his signature. Any changes to the legislation would send it back to the Senate, complicating its path in the final weeks of the 90-day session.

The bill, which passed the Senate 25 to 21, would remove Maryland's legal requirement that marriage be between a man and a woman. The bill also states that religious organizations are not required to participate in same-sex weddings or celebrations if doing so violates their beliefs.

Among the proposed amendments expected Wednesday are some that would broaden the religious exemptions in the bill. During Senate debate, several such amendments were defeated, including one that would have allowed religiously affiliated adoption agencies to refuse services to same-sex couples. That provision is at odds with existing Maryland adoption regulations, bill supporters argued.

An amendment could also be offered on the House floor Wednesday to offer civil unions to gay couples instead of marriage. That proposed change was defeated last week after debate by the House Judiciary Committee, which deadlocked in a 10-10 vote, short of the majority needed for passage.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By John Wagner  | March 9, 2011; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly, John Wagner, Same-Sex Marriage  
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Comments

AA. On a yesterday Washington Post blog on same sex marriage legislation in Maryland someone had hoped to distract readers by asserting that most of the books on the list I had provided here were too old. Well, the first 5 have copyright dates of 2000 or later.

1. Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting, by Dawn Stefanowicz, Nov 2007, http://www.dawnstefanowicz.com/

2. Ex-Gay Research: Analyzing the Spitzer Study and Its Relation to Science, Religion, Politics, and Culture, 2006

3. A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, by Nicolosi and Nicolosi, 2002

4. Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate, 2000,

5. You Don't Have to Be Gay, by Jeff Konrad, 2000

Are we supposed to discard all pre-2005 research now? Are LGBT persons generally prejudiced against pre-2005 books? Let’s look at some favorite books used in University LGBT courses:
1. How about Blumenfeld’s 1992, Homophobia: How We All Pay The Price?
2. How about Cather’s 1927 (rev 1955, 1990), Death Comes for the Archbishop, which is used in the U of MD LGBT 488 course?
3. How about Chauncey’s 1894, Gay New York, which is also used in the LGBT 488 course?
And it’s not just books. Are we now supposed to discard all artwork or other relics that depicted homosexuality in a positive light in Ancient Rome, just because they are more than 6 years old?

BB. And someone has asserted that the books I listed are prejudiced and contain information of little use today. I included this one: Ex-Gay Research: Analyzing the Spitzer Study and Its Relation to Science, Religion, Politics, and Culture, 2006. The person criticizing my list of books has damaged his own credulity and integrity by obviously failing to look at even one page of the book or its reviews. Numerous authors are given voice in this book, many are homosexuals, many are members of the American Psychological Assn, and the large majority of them write in opposition to my own viewpoint. Like I say, I really do want readers to access plenty of argumentation on both sides of the issue and to use their own brainpower to construct their belief systems. Please see the controversial reviews of this book on Amazon.com.

CC. There is no shortcut. Sound bytes, or video bytes, or one-liners by desperate activists do not educate. Each of us must do the requisite hundreds of hours of homework if we are to acquire the beginnings of a socially useful understanding of homosexuality.

Posted by: MustDoTheHomework | March 9, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Just vote it in, stop the games. Join the 21st century. There should be no second-class citizens. We are not a theocracy. Grow up.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 9, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

MustDoTheHomework, why have you read so many books about being gay? I am gay myself and never felt compelled to compile an entire bibliography on homosexuality. I just accepted it, as did my friends and parents.

Posted by: boomer400 | March 9, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I. On a yesterday Washington Post blog on same sex marriage legislation in Maryland someone sought to discredit Dr. George Rekers’ academic and research work by pointing out that he allegedly got caught in a compromising personal situation. If indeed this story is true, then what guidance does it provide us? Are we supposed to believe that all of George Rekers’ work, including one of his books which I listed, (Handbook of Child and Adolescent Sexual Problems) should be discredited? If, indeed, Rekers does have personal sexuality issues, would that mean that his research work on sexuality could not be valuable? Applying such a principle would be tantamount to asserting that Alcoholics Anonymous does not work (Drunks can’t help drunks), and neither do any of the other 12-step programs modeled after it.

II. Here, take a look at Rekers’ qualifications and work and judge for yourself his value as a researcher and teacher. From: http://www.narth.com/docs/2008speakers.html George Rekers, Ph.D., ABPP, FAACP Dr. George Rekers is Distinguished Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science Emeritus at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from UCLA and was previously a Research Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. His work has been supported by more than one million dollars from private and governmental agencies, including NSF and NIMH. Dr. Rekers has delivered over 200 invited lectures in dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. He has well over one hundred publications and ten books, including editing the Handbook of Child and Adolescent Sexual Problems (Simon & Schuster). Dr. Rekers has served as an invited expert for committees of the US Congress, and for the White House staff, and for several presidential cabinet agencies. He is an ABPP Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, a Fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology, and a recipient of the Sigmund Freud Award from NARTH. Dr. Rekers published the first empirical treatment studies demonstrating that childhood cross-gender identity could be reversed, thereby offering prevention of some forms of adulthood homosexual and transsexual development. Professor Rekers was an expert for the legal defense of the Florida law prohibiting child adoption by homosexuals, which was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2005.

III. If you suspect that our Maryland delegates have been provided misleading and unbalanced information about Dr. Rekers, could you please pass this correction on to them.

Thanks.

Posted by: MustDoTheHomework | March 9, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I am consistently amazed by how much time straight people spend thinking about the who how and why of gay people ! I am gay and NEVER think or read this much about it.

Posted by: loladarling | March 9, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Re: Florida Gay Adoption Ban case and George Rekers (from Wikipedia on "George Rekers"):
'Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman ruled against the state. In her decision, she said "Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy."[35] It later emerged that Rekers had been paid nearly $120,000 for his testimony on behalf of the state, which had been solicited specifically by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. The attorney general wrote in 2007: "Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case."'

Read the remainder of the Wikipedia entry for the "rentboy" scandal and testimony of many others who have found Rekers far less than credible.

Posted by: MelanieMassengale | March 9, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Again, MustDoTheHomework, are you gay yourself? If not, what drives you to learn so much about homosexuality? I seriously doubt any gay person I know has read even a fraction of those books.

Posted by: boomer400 | March 9, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The world is on fire, gas is $4 a gallon, unemployment is 10%, we're fighting 2 wars, and what is O'Malley worried about? Gay marriage. Unbelievable..

Posted by: wewinyoulose1 | March 9, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

WWYL, what rock have you been under? Last month we had the biggest job increase in nearly two years. If oil companies weren't worried about an over the top profit line, gas wouldn't be were it is. And no, they don't get to whine about taxes since they get subsidized by the government. We really should have been in one war, but we all know someone had to one up daddy (WMDs anyone?) Plus that is something O'Malley doesn't have control over. As for the world on fire, IT'S RAINING at this hour. At least the governor is worried about equal rights.

Posted by: Falling4Ever | March 10, 2011 1:33 AM | Report abuse

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