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Posted at 2:43 PM ET, 03/10/2011

With same-sex marriage vote looming, the count of openly gay lawmakers in Md. grows by one

By John Wagner

Peter Murphy.jpg

The number of delegates planning to vote for Maryland's same-sex marriage bill Friday remains in flux. But the debate already has had one clear outcome: an increase in the number of openly gay lawmakers in the chamber.

Del. Peter Murphy (D-Charles) announced in an interview published by The Washington Blade on Wednesday that he is gay.

His announcement brings to seven the number of openly gay delegates in the 141-member House. The 47-member Senate has one openly gay member: Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery).

Murphy told The Blade that he is not worried about any backlash from making his sexual orientation public in the media.

"I'm not concerned," he said. "People who know me know that I represent everyone in the district. I work hard to make sure that everyone has a voice and an opportunity to be heard."

All seven other openly gay members of the legislature have played an active role in advocating for the same-sex marriage bill. Madaleno testified about the legislation at a Senate hearing, and the House hearing featured a panel of all six House members.

Murphy told The Blade that he believes the bill will pass on Friday.

"As I have said all along, I think it's a strong civil rights bill," he said.

By John Wagner  | March 10, 2011; 2:43 PM ET
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It's time MD.

CT has supported SSM since 2008, and life goes on. Onward to full marriage equality rights now.

Joe Mustich, CT Justice of the Peace,

Posted by: cornetmustich | March 10, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, there will be backlash Mr. Murphy. Where was this news at back in November, Sir? You know, BEFORE election day. We don’t buy this B.S. about “you thought we already knew”. I can’t wait to vote you out, Sir.

-Charles County Resident

Posted by: WallyWutMD | March 10, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

US Governments, State and Federal, having ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are obliged to protect marriage and children.

The UN Human Rights Committee:"Article 23, paragraph 2, of the Covenant is the only substantive provision in the Covenant which defines a right by using the term 'men and women', rather than 'every human being', 'everyone' and 'all persons'. Use of the term 'men and women'...has been consistently and uniformly understood as indicating that the treaty obligation of States parties stemming from article 23, paragraph 2, of the Covenant is to recognize as marriage only the union between a man and a woman wishing to marry each other."

"The right to marry and found a family 'implies, in principle, the possibility to procreate'."

There is no compulsion to procreate but rather a more exacting requirement for the two rights holders of the right to marry to have 'in principle, the possibility to procreate' through their marriage.

This requirement rules out definitively any genuine right of two persons of the same sex to marry.

Regrettably, clever propaganda programs have produced opinion polls favouring 'same-sex marriage'. But propaganda, however successful, is no basis for changing marriage laws that protect social coherence through responsible procreation, and ensure 'as far as possible, a child’s right to know and be cared for by his or her parents' (i.e. by both parents--not just the maternal parent and her lesbian partner, or the paternal parent and his homosexual partner).

In the International Journal of Human Rights 14.7 (2010), Jakob Cornides, enunciates the incompatibilities that prevent 'same-sex marriage' from serious consideration as an issue of 'equality'.

Responding to the ubiquitous claim that a homosexual couple deserve 'marriage equality' because "they love one another", Cornides has pointed out that "the institution of 'marriage' does not have the purpose of 'rewarding' people for loving each other; for this reason, the argument that homosexually oriented people, too, are capable of 'loving' of no relevance."
Cornides can find no legitimacy in human rights law for changing the meaning of ‘marriage’.

"...if 'family' is no more to be defined by descent or marriage between persons of the opposite sex, by which other criteria shall it then be defined? Created as a pre-requisite for same-sex 'marriage', the adoption of children by same-sex couples, etc., this new concept turns 'family' into something of an artificial construct, removed from biological reality: the arbitrary invention of a legislator, which at any time could be replaced through another arbitrary invention of another legislator as mores once again change. If this is accepted, a legislator's imagination is limitless: every constellation of two or more persons could be styled a 'marriage' or 'family', and the traditional meaning of both terms would be undermined or even disappear altogether."

Posted by: ritaJ2 | March 10, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey a local delegate. I'm grateful you represent us Murphy. Folks like Wally are unable to respect someone for his stance on issues and just want to jump down their throats because of their lifestyle. Tell me Wally, does this make you want to come out of the closet?

Posted by: Falling4Ever | March 10, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow , this is wonderful news. Congrats Delegate Murphy on your courage in a time of hatred.

And for all you haters who no longer support Delegate Murphy, even though you voted for him when you thought he was straight, shame on you. Where's your decency.

This just proves that the fight for gay equality nothing to do with marriage, but everything to do with discrimination.

You go Maryland. Gay marriage and equality for all.

Posted by: hotfuzz | March 10, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

RitaJ2, "Really" what planet are you from. What the heck are you even trying to say here? What book or website did you copy this from. You talk about propaganda, "What the heck do you think you just posted here.

Let me ask you do you work for "NOM", and if so how much did they pay you to post this crap?

Gay marriage and equality for all.

Posted by: hotfuzz | March 10, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

As long as he doesn't have an unsuspecting wife at home, his sexual orientation is no one's concern but his own.

Posted by: CAmira5 | March 10, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

In reply to 'hotfuzz', I do not belong to NOM and I am not paid by anyone--I am retired.
But having spent more than thirty years in human rights research and advocacy, I do know the difference between genuine human rights and psuedo human rights.

It is rational thought and logic, not 'homophobia', that requires reasonable people to recognize that 'same-sex marriage' must remain a hollow concept, an elaborate pretence at parity denied by nature itself,

As with the Emperor's New Clothes, the hoax involving same-sex 'marriage' is just plain silly.

Sooner or later, the crowds will see through the hoax and call out the truth.

Commonsense triumphs over attempted ideological conditioning by a strident lobby pushing onto the gullible the novel concept that the law must seriously endorse their absurd game of 'dress-ups' and ‘pretend’ marriage.

Posted by: ritaJ2 | March 10, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

My partner and I have also been together for decades. We had a religious ceremony only (we aren’t allowed to have a civil one)—it was held in the very same chapel where my partner had his bar mitzvah years before! And many of the same people (obviously, from his family) were present.

We married because we have built a life together. As the rabbi and several guests comments, they viewed us as “more married” than most of the young couples getting married because we had ALREADY shared our lives together for many years.

And, indeed, as both you and I know, far too many marriages –heterosexual marriages—do NOT last and far too many couples –heterosexual couples—get married for all the wrong reasons.

Now we are looking to protect our most important relationship legally, so that we are no longer LEGAL strangers to one another. We share a house, a car, a mortgage, bills, decisions about what to have for dinner and decisions about life and death.

We AREN'T "unrelated." We are a couple.

We've already made multiple trips to a very expensive lawyer to try to protect that relationship, but even our lawyer acknowledges the difficulty of doing so without a marriage certificate.

The lawyer has had to think ahead to all manner of possible situations just to try to make sure they are covered--they would have been automatically by a single marriage certificate.

So please consider: this isn't about a "hoax" or a "hollow concept" or "dress up" or PRETEND. Our shared mortgage, shared bills, shared responsibilities are VERY real. Every bit as real as yours.

Entering into a legally-binding commitment is very real and a big deal. It protects us and it commits us to one another.

I would never vote on your right to protect your marriage. I would never WANT to vote on anyone else's marriage.

I cannot imagine why you feel qualified to vote on mine.


Posted by: ricklinguist | March 10, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

rl wrote:

"Entering into a legally-binding commitment is very real and a big deal. It protects us and it commits us to one another."

Your legally binding commitment is less legally binding than a contract to buy a washing machine or a house.

Your legally binding commitment is merely access to a whole set of benefits and arrangements once instituted to protect non-working child bearing women and the children their sexual relations with their husbands could produce.

Either partner can leave at any time, without the acknowledgment of the other partner.

A partner who wishes to leave does not have to show any fault on the part of the other partner in most states.

There is no penalty for one partner unilaterally leaving the partnership.

The partner who unilaterally leaves the partnership can end up financially ahead of the partner who remains loyal to the partnership agreement.

In a real sense, as many opposite sex couples have found, you can become strangers to each other with your marriage certificate as easily as if you didn't have it.

Posted by: captn_ahab | March 10, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

When my father died a few years ago, my 80-year old mother was understandably shaken.

In addition to the grief, she was also visibly worried about all the paperwork, legal, financial, insurance and other issues that are inevitable when the person you share your life with has died.

I called our family lawyer with my mother by my side. He was so reassuring that I put my mother on the phone: all she needed to do, he told her, was order a bunch of copies of the death certificate. As his legal spouse, the rest was simply a matter of sending a copy of the certificate whenever any such issue arose.

And he was right, of course. We went through a dozen death certificates in a matter of weeks. It still wasn’t fun, but we got through it.

Now consider a gay couple in the same situation. A death certificate has absolutely no bearing on most of these issues in the case of gay couples. The bereaved is a complete legal stranger to the deceased. That makes this a matter of importance to the state as well. The law demands clarity.

Even our lawyer acknowledges the difficulty of recreating marital protections without a marriage certificate.

The lawyer has had to think ahead to all manner of possible situations just to try to make sure they are covered--they would have been automatically by a single marriage certificate.

The problem is, you can’t predict everything. That’s why marriage contracts work so effectively—they cover the relationship, and thus you don’t have to be a seer. You are covered even in those unpredictable circumstances that the lawyer cannot help you with ahead of time.

Indeed, one of the most startling things to me in connection with the lawyer visits has been that he is something of a collector of anecdotes, and uses them to guide what he thinks might end up being useful.

But he doesn’t know which, if any, will end up being called upon in any particular case. And so he goes on collecting anecdotes, hoping his experience will serve his clients. We happen to live in an area with a lawyer with lots of experience with same-sex couples seeking protection.

We’re lucky. I shudder to think about the couple in, say, rural Mississippi or Utah. What in the world do they do to protect themselves? Rights shouldn’t depend on how lucky you are.

Posted by: ricklinguist | March 10, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

If I hear one more person arguing that the reason same-sex marriage should not be allowed is because they can't have children, I am going to scream. I am married to a man. We are never going to have children. We entered the marriage knowing we are not going to have children. However, the State of Maryland was more than happy to issue us a marriage license. My 85 year old widowed grandmother, who clearly cannot have children would also have no problem getting legally married in this state. We don't force fertility testing before marriage. There's not requirement to bear a child within a certain time frame. It's a false argument, and those who make it just look ridiculous.

Posted by: haether | March 11, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse


I am amazed that having spent 30+ years in human rights research and advocacy that you can call same sex marriage, a pseudo human right, a hollow concept, an elaborate pretence at parity, a silly hoax, and an absurd game of 'dress-ups' and ‘pretend’. I can only assume that you spent your time trying to legitimize the limiting of human rights to those you felt less deserving than yourself. I am happy to hear that you have retired, as I prefer to have people with fewer prejudices in the human rights field.

Arguing that nature is against same sex marriage due to a same sex couple’s inability to produce biological children is a fallacy. While I understand that you and others of your ilk like to rely on this argument, it fails to explain how nature or the law sanctions legal marriage between infertile couples. Similarly, by that logic nature should preclude homosexuals from procreating at all. Many same sex couples are raising biological children, albeit not biologically conceived from both partners. If one were to follow the prevailing norm in nature, one would be more likely to fornicate with both sexes, and not marry at all. Homosexuality/bisexuality is actually fairly common in nature, and monogamy is quite rare.

Although I can appreciate the concept of protecting the definition of traditional marriage, I would like to remind proponents of this idea that this definition has changed over the centuries due to social influence. It wasn’t that long ago that traditional marriages were arranged to exalt one’s family to greater prominence, and the birth of a female produced from that union was far less desirable than delivery of a male. I think most find the loss of those traditions quite acceptable.

I agree that common sense will indeed triumph over ideological conditioning. I have faith that most people’s reasoning and judgment have evolved enough to reject the ideological conditioning of religious zealots and bigots. I believe that most people understand that human rights are for all humans; not just those selected by individuals or groups audacious enough to feel they are somehow entitled to deprive others of certain rights.

For those who feel it is necessary to protect traditional family values; your time would be better spent trying to help those people who for whatever reason are failing to teach their children good morals and values. Most same sex couples and their families already share your values. These values will continue to be shared, or not regardless of the legality of same sex marriage. Same sex marriage only guarantees equal legal rights for all committed couples.

The time has come. The time is now.

Posted by: spgspg | March 11, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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