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Maryland governor introduces marriage equality bill

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

On the heels of today’s big announcement out of Washington, marriage equality is also moving forward in Maryland, with Governor Martin O’Malley introducing a bill at tonight’s evening legislative session to legalize gay marriage in the state.  The Baltimore Sun reports that O’Malley’s staff worked throughout the day to fine-tune the religious protections language in the bill, which the governor said in a briefing would make the bill “a little clearer” and, he hopes, ensure that it enjoys “additional support” in comparison with a similar bill that failed last year.  From the Sun’s article:

The language provided Monday night made a few key changes, according to Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for O’Malley. She said the bill extended legal protections to leaders of religious groups, while last year’s bill shielded only institutions.

The bill also makes clear that religious leaders, not the state, control theological doctrine, Guillory said. And it further limits any punitive actions — like denying government funds — that the state could take against religious organizations for failing to perform same-sex marriages.

Tomorrow morning, O’Malley will host a breakfast with LGBT advocates and members of the religious community to discuss his bill.  This is the strongest show of support the governor has given marriage equality so far; last year, he said he would sign a bill legalizing gay marriage should it pass the legislature, but did not include it in his own legislative package.

A Senate hearing on the bill will take place on January 31.  In the House, two committees will consider the bill: the Judiciary Committee and the Health and Government Affairs Committee.

25 Comments

  • 1. Seth from Maryland  |  January 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Thank you Gov O’Malley, i know we will become number eight

  • 2. gayathomemom  |  January 23, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Makes me sick that they (religious people) can still discriminate and not lose government funding. What kind of message does that send?

  • 3. _BK_  |  January 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Lol. (:

  • 4. Seth from Maryland  |  January 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    yes wez does :) lol

  • 5. Dana Jeanne  |  January 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Churches have always been able to not marry people if they didn't want to. My cousin's church won't marry a couple unless they first go through marriage counseling. Most M/F couples either have the counseling or go somewhere else, it wouldn't enter their minds to sue over it. I reckon it comes up now because some churches either think they'll get sued, or perhaps a same-sex couple did try and sue?

  • 6. bythesea  |  January 24, 2012 at 12:04 am

    You can sue for anything, if you can afford the expense, but as you point out no one has bothered since the first amendment covers that for Churches. And so it should. The RCC does not marry those who have been previously married, not generally interfaith marriages, nor divorcees who want to marry but haven't had their previous marriages annulled in the eyes of that Church, and Christian Identity "Churches" that reject interracial marriage are not compelled to perform such marriages either. Yet, life goes on and no one successfully sues the assholes for their simple bigotry.

  • 7. Larry  |  January 24, 2012 at 12:07 am

    As long as the religious exemptions aren't too broad (like those in RI apparently were), then it's a symbolic gesture. And if it gets a few more votes in favor of marriage equality, that's a very good thing. My rebuttal for people is to ask them if a Catholic church must marry 2 Jews or Atheists or Muslims. Obviously not. So they wouldn't be required to marry 2 men or women, regardless of how the law is phrased.

  • 8. grod  |  January 24, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Minnesota's Appeal Court returns ssm case to lower court. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012
    The ruling http://www.mncourts.gov/opinions/coa/current/opa1… discounts the lower courts' reliance on Baker. Case law is building thoughout the country.

  • 9. AnonyGrl  |  January 24, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Indeed we duz!

  • 10. Sam_Handwich  |  January 24, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Why would ANY couple want to have their wedding ceremony conducted by someone who doesn't want to marry them? You simply find someone else to do it. The notion of suing in such a situation is preposterous.

  • 11. Seth from Maryland  |  January 24, 2012 at 7:35 am

    http://youtu.be/sNUkqmzjumA

    this is very a intersting marriage equality ad running in Arizona

  • 12. Steve  |  January 24, 2012 at 7:42 am

    It's still not a good thing. Talking to religious organizations, giving them a say in their matter and catering to their absurd, irrational whims gives them power they simply don't deserve. Churches should be kept out of the political process altogether and also pushed a good deal out of the public sphere

  • 13. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for sharing this Seth. I live in Arizona and have not seen the ad … yet. Have shared it on facebook.

  • 14. Cat  |  January 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Good stuff. It's about time the old case law is thrown out, and new evidence on the importance of marriage for same-sex couples and the lack of negative effect on opposite sex-marriage are reflected in new case law. Baker was only a few years after the Stonewall Riots, when the establishment still thought it was OK and necessary to beat up gays… It makes me shiver.

    I seem to remember that in the Golinski case our side asked the judge to explicitly rule on the validity of old case law, to make sure it is struck down once and for all.

  • 15. Seth from Maryland  |  January 24, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Ur welcome :)

  • 16. bythesea  |  January 24, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Wow…I'm surprised to see a politician using support Marriage Equality as a selling point. Most interesting.

  • 17. AnonyGrl  |  January 24, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Governor Cuomo made it a priority in NY. I think President Obama is coming to the realization that the issue is important enough to be listed as a primary goal. Politicians are starting to realize which side of the human rights table they want to be on.

    This is a good thing.

  • 18. Bryce  |  January 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I am just a few metro stops from the border, Seth. I will be there to celebrate if (when!) it happens!

  • 19. Jamie  |  January 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Actually, the Catholic church does indeed marry people that have been married/divorced before. My mother has been married three times in the Catholic church following her divorces. She just needed to apply for an annulment and pay the donation "fee". It's amazing what the Catholic church will do as long as you give them $20,000 first.

  • 20. Steve  |  January 24, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Annulments are modern indlugences

  • 21. Leo  |  January 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

    It is preposterous, but there will always be people who do preposterous things out of malice or for profit, if they can get away with it.

  • 22. bythesea  |  January 24, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Oh I agree of course, but am surprised to see politician being drawn to advocate for it outside of very blue states. Things are changing faster than I could have ever expected…it sort of blows my mind.

  • 23. Gregory in SLC  |  January 24, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I agree….it was exhilarating watching Cuomo in NY the final days/weeks leading up to the vote…
    Now Chris Gregoire has made ALL the difference in Washington State…her enthusiasm, determination and conviction is wonderful to see…..now Martin O’Malley in Maryland…

    We REALLY need President Obama to do the same!

  • 24. JefferyK  |  January 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Same could be said about the Mormon church. I mean, how many times has Marie Osmond been married now?

  • 25. Equality On TrialMaryland&hellip  |  December 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    […] wrote last week about religious leaders in Maryland who are personally opposed to marriage same-sex couples being […]

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