Author Topic: Maryland Activism Update-Important  (Read 2400 times)

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Offline ChefAnnagirl

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Maryland Activism Update-Important
« on: February 03, 2006, 06:32:41 pm »
Hi all,

Here's the latest about what's been going on here in good ol' MD.
The proposed legislation for a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage has, for the moment, failed to pass.  :)

Obviously, there will always be more attempts to restrict the rights of others to simply live in free expression of individual will.  >:(

The attached letter from Equality Maryland outlines the most recent details, as well as provides a listing and current stance(es) of all the representatives involved on either side of the issue.

Never give up.

Be well always,
Best loving wishes to everyone,

Love forever,



 Dear Friends,
Today in Annapolis was a very emotional one.  As I reported, yesterday the House Judiciary Committee voted down the anti-gay constitutional amendment proposed by Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County).  This morning, the House of Delegates was presented, as a matter of protocol, with the issue of whether they would choose to accept the Judiciary Committee’s “unfavorable report” on the bill.  The motion, presented by Del. David Rudolph (D-Harford & Cecil Counties), to change the committee’s unfavorable report to a favorable report, failed 61-78. 
The nearly one hour debate beforehand on whether or not the full House of Delegates would get to consider House Bill 48 even though the Judiciary Committee had already voted against it was contentious indeed.  Here are some highlights:
Several members of the Judiciary Committee urged their colleagues to respect their decision. 
“We have a responsibility to back a committee system,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Vallario, (D-Prince George’s & Calvert Counties), citing the early hearing granted to the bill, the seven hours of testimony presented by 160 witnesses, a vote on the legislation within 48 hours of the bill hearing, and a one-hour debate by Committee members on the appropriate course of action.  “Everyone had a voice,” he said. 
Del. Kathleen Dumais (D-Montgomery County) told her colleagues that they should reject attempts to bypass the Judiciary Committee.  As a member of the Committee, Del. Dumais said, she listened to both sides with an open mind and put a great deal of thought and preparation into her decision.  “Democracy includes three branches of government,” Del. Dumais declared, “and this issue is before the judicial branch.”  The judges at the appellate level in Maryland are the most respected members of the bench, she added.
Del. Luiz Simmons (D-Montgomery County), another Judiciary Committee member, offered a well-argued defense of our three branches of government as he urged his colleagues to respect the process and allow the case to be heard by the Court of Appeals.  “The Judiciary Committee has stood up for the Constitution of Maryland,” he said.  “We do not want to undermine the courts.”
Del. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) offered some of the most biting comments in his rebuke of those seeking to bypass the Committee.  “The framers feared this day,” Del. Zirkin said.  The Constitution isn’t just to protect some, but all citizens, he said, calling the dialogue the “passion of political prejudice in an election year.”  Del. Zirkin said that the testimony he heard by proponents of the bill in Committee included “bashing, berating, and demonizing.”  We have exploited these citizens all around the country, he said.  Enough is enough of demonizing citizens for political gain.
In urging the House to bypass the Judiciary Committee, Del. Pat McDonough (R-Harford and Baltimore Counties) invoked the Bible and talked about “Judeo-Christian” principles.
Del. Gareth Murray (D-Montgomery County) took offense, telling his colleague that he is very familiar with the Bible, but that it has been used in the past to oppress people, including himself, because of his race.
Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County), one of three openly gay members of the House of Delegates, bravely stood up and stated in no uncertain terms that the proposed legislation was about creating a lower status for a group of people and turning them into second-class citizens.  Del. Kaiser told her colleagues that she knows a great deal about marriage from her parents, as she pointed to the galley above, where they were sitting in support of their daughter.
Other delegates’ deeds were noteworthy:
Del. Liz Bobo (Howard & Baltimore Counties) cancelled a trip to Florida in order to be present to vote against the proposal.
Del. Jean Cryor (R-Montgomery County) was the only Republican member of the House of Delegates to reject attempts to bypass the committee.
Several Democrats supported the measure.  They include: 
Del. Kevin Kelly (D-Allegany, Garrett & Washington Counties)
Del. John Donoghue (D-Washington County)
Del. John Arnick (D-Baltimore County)
Del. Joseph Minnick (D-Baltimore County)
Del. Michael Weir (D-Baltimore County)
Del. Eric Bromwell (D-Baltimore County)
Del. Emmett Burns (D-Baltimore County)
Del. James Malone (D-Baltimore & Howard Counties)
Del. Steven DeBoy (D-Baltimore & Howard Counties)
Del. Mary Conroy (D-Prince George’s County)
Del. Darryl Kelley (D-Prince George’s County)
Del. John Wood (D-Calvert, Charles & St. Mary’s Counties)
Del. Joan Cadden (D-Anne Arundel County)
Del. Theodore Sophocleus (D-Anne Arundel County)
Del. David Rudolph (D-Harford & Cecil Counties)
Del. Rudy Cane (D-Caroline, Dorchest, Talbot & Wicomico Counties)
Del. K. Bennett Bozman (D-Somerset, Wicomico & Worcester Counties)
Del. Norman Conway (D-Somerset, Wicomico & Worcester Counties)
Today was very important to our efforts to keep our constitution discrimination-free, but the legislative session is far from over.  The battle likely will rage on with other proposed constitutional amendments.  Del. Addie Eckardt (R-Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, & Wicomico Counties) has indicated she will introduce an amendment that will ban marriage (but not civil unions or legal relationships).  Here is Del. Eckardt’s reply to a question during her Washington Post online chat earlier this week:
Reston, Va.: I want to know what Del. Eckardt recommends gay couples do to protect themselves in retirement. My partner and I are approaching retirement, and I am worried that if my partner dies before I do (he is 10 years my senior and has been the breadwinner in our family the past couple of years) that I will be in big trouble due to the lack of Social Security and health benefits that I can't enjoy because I am unable to marry. What would Del. Eckardt do if he were in my situation?
Del. Adelaide C. Eckardt: When individuals choose their lifestyle there may be implications
Please remember to thank all of those who have stood with us.  If you communicate with anyone who voted against our interests, DO NOT BE HOSTILE OR THREATENING.  I understand the pain of seeing legislators working to write a group of people out of the Constitution, but our cause will not be furthered by hostile behavior and does nothing to change hearts and minds.  Contact information for all members of the House of Delegates may be found here:

If you have not yet signed up for Lobby Day, please do so now:
Our rally in front of the State House begins at 5:00 p.m on Monday the 13th.  We need everyone in Annapolis for this momentous occasion where we will show legislators our strength in numbers, our conviction, and our truth.
In partnership and equality,

Dan Furmansky
Executive Director
Level the playing field