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Posted at 10:37 AM ET, 03/10/2011

Second battle looms if Md. lawmakers pass same-sex marriage

By John Wagner

If Maryland lawmakers pass a same-sex marriage bill Friday, a second battle over the issue is expected to begin almost immediately -- among the public.

The state Constitution allows citizens to petition just-passed laws to the ballot if they collect enough voter signatures. Both sides in the legislative debate over same-sex marriage believe a referendum would be likely if the bill clears a very closely divided House of Delegates.

The bill has already passed the Senate and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has pledged to sign it if it reaches his desk. Absent a successful petition drive, the new law would take effect Oct. 1.

If the bill passes and is successfully petitioned to the ballot, the same-sex marriage law would be put on hold pending the outcome of a statewide referendum. Maryland's Constitution says that vote must take place at the time of the next election of members of the U.S. House of Representatives -- November 2012, in this case.

Opponents would need to collect 55,736 valid voter signatures by June 30 to force a public vote. That number is the equivalent of 3 percent of those who voted in the last governor's race -- the threshold contained in the Constitution.

If the issue is put to the ballot, it's hard to know what would happen. A statewide poll released in January showed 51 percent of Maryland voters favor same-sex marriages, with 41 percent opposed. That survey was conducted by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies.

Some prominent Maryland politicians, including Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), have predicted the ballot measure could fail, however.

In two other states, California and Maine, voters have rejected same-sex marriage when it was put on the ballot.

In November 2008, California voters approved Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that amended the state Constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman.

The ballot initiative was prompted by a law legalizing same-sex marriages. Couples married in California between June 16, 2008, when the law took effect, and the referendum's passage are still regarded as married under state law.

Maine legalized same-sex marriage in June 2009, but the law was petitioned to referendum. Maine voters rejected the law in a November 2009 election.

By John Wagner  | March 10, 2011; 10:37 AM ET
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Next: With same-sex marriage vote looming, the count of openly gay lawmakers in Md. grows by one


Hey DC, take some notes. This is what a real state does when its insane legislators try to impose the homosexual agenda on its people. WE VOTE! This bill doesn't stand a chance. There's no amount of spin the WP can manufacture that can save it. Any Senator or Delegate stupid enough to vote for this bill will face the wrath of the voter. 55,736 signatures! That's all?! Tell ya what. We'll go ahead and give a million; just to cushion the padding a little bit. If you think gay people in California hate Blacks, wait till you see what happens in Maryland! I can't wait!

Posted by: WallyWutMD | March 10, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

@WallyWutMD - why is there so much hatred and disdain in you? We need to show as much outrage over unemployment, rising gas and utility costs, the federal deficit, and the rampant murder rate in Prince George's County rather than worrying about two people wanting to get married.

What are our churches doing to prevent divorce? Seems to me THAT would do more to "protect marriage" than blocking this bill. So ofter, we expend our efforts on certain issues because it seems easier than addresses the issues that more directly impact us. I would much rather this strong coalition of black churches and citizens rally to do something about the fact that we in Prince George's County pay some of the highest taxes in the state, yet the services and accommodations we have pale in comparison to other counties. How about we rally to improve our schools rather than allowing the budget to be cut and teachers layed off. If you don't "agree" with members of the same sex getting married, the solution for you is simple: don't marry another man. Let's focus on the issues that directly affect us.

Posted by: jamccoy | March 10, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The anti-gay bigots are losing the culture war. If they get this on the ballot in MD, they will lose big in 2012. But if Republicans want to focus on hate instead of jobs, that's their problem.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 10, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Repeal O'Malley!

Posted by: wewinyoulose1 | March 10, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@wewinyoulose1, Maryland citizens had the opportunity to "repeal O'Malley" last November. Not only was he not "repealed," he won by a wider margin than he had in 2008.

Why do you care if a same-sex couple marries? How does it affect you?

Posted by: kpharmer | March 10, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

What the article fails to tell the reader is that a far greater percentage of the Marylanders polled by Gonzales Research favor civil unions for same sex couples than favor changing the definition of marriage. This could have serious consquences for a referendum vote, but of course the Wash. Post doesn't discuss that.

Posted by: captn_ahab | March 10, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Wally and his ilk are so quickly revealed to be the hate mongers they are when they can give no cogent argument against same sex marriage. He rails against DC marriage equality laws, but one year later (and almost seven years later in Massachusetts) of treating gays the same as straights and the sky is not falling, people still go to work and church, families still love each other and people live their lives. How is this hell?

Posted by: md268 | March 10, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Wally also forget the D.C. Human Rights Act which prevents legislation that would deprive rights to citizens in D.C. from going to vote.

Posted by: Falling4Ever | March 10, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

@jamccoy and getjiggly1 - Yes, there are plenty of other issues plaguing humanity. None more glaring than the economy, or the divorce rate. But what you are proposing - shifting our concentration to other issues - is nothing more than a chess strategy. By offering these "pawns" to be sacrificed, your desire is to draw our most powerful forces away from the real threat, while you advance through the unprotected ranks to capture our King. The true goal of the homosexual agenda is to raise a generation of new policy makers who will boldly attempt to antiquate the word of God. Do you honestly believe that Christians don't see this strategy? The wages of sin is death. If you choose death, then so be it. It's a personal decision. But when you slowly impose it on an entire nation through sneaky legislation, you have sentenced that entire nation to death. We will not stand by idly and allow this attack to succeed.

Posted by: WallyWutMD | March 10, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@kpharmer - I voted for the Constitution Party dude. Elrich was garbage. He did not take a position on Same Sex Marriage (which means he was for it) and he was in bed with the Casinos. He did not represent Christian values whatsoever. He deserved the shalacking he got. O'Malley, on the other hand: Impeachment anyone?

Posted by: WallyWutMD | March 10, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@Falling4Ever - Nobody is trying to deprive anyone of their right to vote. I believe what you are attempting to point out is the DC Charter's alleged provision that disallows voting on "Human Rights" issues. First of all, "Human Rights" legislation was enacted to protect racial minorities from REAL discrimination. Unwelcome, the homosexual agenda has latched its tentacles onto the historic efforts of the Civil Rights Movement. Get your own movement. Secondly, it is the homosexual agenda's intention, not ours, to deprive the citizens of DC, their right to vote. Knowing that they will lose in a fair vote (as they have in every state where it was put on a ballot), they will distort any law they can to keep the issue out of the hands of the people. And just in case you're confused, gay people will be allowed to vote as well. No discrimination here.

Posted by: WallyWutMD | March 10, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

@Wally - I would hardly call your hate filled rants against people that aren't like you "Christian" in the first place. Also, learn to spell. Elrich is a Montgomery County Councilmember, and Ehrlich is the Bobby Haircut.
One question I have for future articles on the referendum issue - does Maryland have a human rights commission similar to that of DC, or is there anything in the state constitution, etc. that could potentially prevent a DOMA-style vote in the Free State?
Even with the poll numbers showing a 10 point lead, I am not sure any progressive initiative like this would win a vote once all of the "Christians" and "Bishops" and "Pastors" in PG County and elsewhere start preaching that it's God's will to discriminate against your brothers and sisters, if you don't happen to agree with them.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | March 10, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Wally just wants attention because he's not getting it at home.

Gay equality will happen. Don't mess with Baltimore, "We don't put up with this crap or those crazy "NOM" people."
Let one of those jerks knock on my door and they will get an ear full. All they teach is hate. Their agenda is fear.

Vote "yes" for equality!!!!!!!!

Posted by: hotfuzz | March 10, 2011 8:09 PM | 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 | March 11, 2011 3:56 AM | Report abuse

As an example to prove that homosexuality is not a sin, let's look at why the anti-gay view is laughable.

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 | March 11, 2011 3:58 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 | March 11, 2011 3:59 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 Association and American Psychiatric Association 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 | March 11, 2011 4:00 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 | March 11, 2011 4:03 AM | Report abuse

wallywut, who is the "we" you keep referring to? You got a million mice in your pocket? I think you're living in the wrong state. Southern VA might be more appropriate for you, but you should really move to Dubai. the homosexual agenda. What a freakin joke! Did you hear that from rush, glen, or sarah? since you're a "conservative" i already know you're not capable of formulating thought without assistance. It's 2011 backwoods middleages minded retardedmoron.

Posted by: red2million | March 11, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

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