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Maryland House Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Advocates secured one more vote than the minimum of 71 to pass the legislation voted to approve the bill.

By Bryan P. Sears and Adam Bednar

It was close, but the Maryland House of Delegates voted to approve a same-sex marriage bill Friday night that was a priority for Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Legislators passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act with 72 votes in favor and 67 delegates voting against the legislation. The bill needed a minimum of 71 votes to pass. The total was originally reported as 71 votes in favor because a technical glitch locked out Del. John Bohanon’s vote in favor of the bill.

Just two Republicans—Dels. Wade Kach and Robert Costa of Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, respectively—voted in favor of the bill.

A similar bill died last year in the House when proponents failed to secure the needed votes and were forced to return the bill to committee.

The bill will now be taken up for debate in the state Senate, which held a hearing prior to the House. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has been holding the bill to wait to see if the House would pass it.

As the vote tally on the roll call board showed the bill had passed a cheer erupted from supporters on the floor.

Gitanjali Deane and Lisa Polyak, of Baltimore's Homeland neighborhood, stood outside the House of Delegates chambers celebrating after the House passed the bill. The couple were the lead plaintiffs in an unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the state’s current law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.  

“I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around it because I feel like finally we’re recognized as a family,” Deane said while standing next to her daughter Devi.   

Among the supporters was Del. Anne Kaiser, a Montgomery County Democrat. She said it was one of the happiest days of her life.

“I can hardly believe it now. It’s just really exciting for me, for my partner and my family for the other members of the legislature and the people of Maryland,” said Kaiser, who is one of seven openly gay or lesbian members of the House.  

Kaiser called the process of trying to corral enough votes to pass the legislation “exciting” and said she expects the Senate to pass the bill next week.

“One of the things I’ve been saying the last few weeks is ‘History, do you feel inevitability knocking on the door?’” she said. 

Del. Mary Washington, a Democrat who represents North Baltimore, was also elated when the tally was announced.

“I’m so happy for the men and women in this state who are now going to be able to get married some day soon. I’m just very grateful to all the delegates who looked deep into their hearts and looked to their responsibilities as legislators and came out on the side of equality,” said Washington, who is also a lesbian.  

Washington said amendments to the bill, which include provisions that it can not go into effect if there is pending litigation against it or that it can be struck down if a judge decides any part of it is illegal, gives her some reason for concern. But she added that she just wanted to enjoy the night’s victory.  

“For tonight we have established that it is the intent of this legislature to have marriage equality in the state of Maryland and that can not be changed,” Washington said.

O'Malley has made passage of the bill one of his top priorities this session. Earlier on Friday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, vetoed his state's bill to legalize gay marriage. Both O'Malley and Christie are often mentioned as future presidential candidates.

O'Malley praised Maryland legislators for their work.  

“Today, the House of Delegates voted for human dignity," O'Malley said in a statement released Friday after the vote. "Speaker (Michael) Busch and his fellow Delegates deserve a lot of credit for their hard work.  At its heart, their vote was a vote for Maryland’s children." 

The amendments were added to the bill Friday afternoon following a meeting between House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Del. Tiffany Alston, a Prince George’s Democrat, during the debate on the bill.

An amendment was added to the legislation Thursday that moves the effective date of the legislation from October 2012 to January 2013 to secure the vote of Del. Wade Kach, a Baltimore County Republican. Kach said in an interview Friday afternoon he wanted the amendment attached so opponents would have enough time to try and put the issue to a referendum.    

Kach was one of two Baltimore County delegates who were once thought to oppose the bill but then came out to support it in the last hours before a final vote.

Kach, in an interview with Patch less than an hour before the final vote, said he changed his mind after sitting next to witnesses at a hearing last week.

"I saw the relationships between the same-sex couples—they're not second class citizens," said Kach, a Republican who represents northern Baltimore County. 

Del. John Olszewski Jr., a Dundalk Democrat, announced yesterday that he would support the bill. He had opposed previous versions of the bill saying that it failed to provide adequate protection to religious institutions.

During debate Friday night, Olszewski said he now believes the "has strongest language to protect religious institutions."

Kach came under fire by some in his own party after the vote who held him responsible for the passage of the bill.

"I'm extremely disappointed in Wade Kach," said Del. Kathy Szeliga, Baltimore County Republican. "It's one vote. I know his district. That district is not going to be happy with his vote."

Szeliga said the focus is now on moving the bill, which is expected to be passed in the Senate, to a referendum on the 2012 ballot in November along side the bill that grants tuition to some illegal immigrants.

"I'll be strongly working on the petition drive as soon as it get's out of the Senate," said Szeliga.

 

Here's how Baltimore County's lawmakers voted:

Name                                                Party  District      Vote Sue Aumann R 42 Against Joseph Boteler       R 8 Against Eric Bromwell D 8 For Emmett Burns D 10 Against Jon Cardin D 11 For

John Cluster

R 8 Against Steve DeBoy D 12 Against Bill Frank R 42 Against Rick Impallaria R 7 Against Adrienne Jones D 10 For Wade Kach R 5B For Steve Lafferty D 42 For Jim Malone D 12 For Pat McDonough R 7 Against Josephn "Sonny" Minnick D 6 Against Dan Morhaim D 11 For Shirley Nathan-Pulliam D 10 For John Olszewski Jr. D 6 For Dana Stein D 11 For Kathy Szeliga          R 7 Against Mike Weir Jr. D 6 Against

Here's how Baltimore City's delegates voted:

Name                                                Party District      Vote Curt Anderson D 43 For Talmadge Branch D 45 Against Jill Carter D 41 For Luke Clippinger D 46 For Frank Conaway Jr. D 40 For Cheryl Glenn D 45 Against Peter Hammen D 46 For Hattie Harrison D 45 For Keith Haynes D 44 For Brian McHale D 46 For Maggie McIntosh D 43 For Keiffer Mitchell D 44 For Nathaniel Oaks D 41 For Barbara Robinson D 40 For Samuel "Sandy" Rosenberg D 40 For Melvin Stukes D 44 Against Shawn Tarrant D 40 For Mary Washington D 43 For

 

Stay with Patch for updates.

steven bradley February 25, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Don't get me wrong. I did create the group and wrote the document before I quoted it here. I can get peers to join the group and spread the mission statement and findings same as every other group you listed does.
steven bradley February 25, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Casey, I did not say gay marriage leads to underage marriage or interspecies marriage. An argument was made gay marriage is common and has been in other countries. I commented that the common age of marriage is different in other countries. Maybe you think interspecies marriage or at least intimacy is common in other countries? We can use that argument to determine whether we should use what occurs in foreign countries as a guide for what we do here if you’d like. “When interracial marriage bans were struck down, you did not see states legalizing interspecies or underage marriage.” I have no opinion on interracial marriage. You brought it up not me. Since you did we can point out that it occurred, now gay marriage, next poly marriage.
steven bradley February 25, 2012 at 01:09 PM
“A person does not choose to be gay.” That’s a great argument. Argue it with the young person that we are actually replying to. She speaks of the love of her parents whether she chooses to be a lesbian or not. “I don't know about everyone else, but in my household I was raised that choosing to be lesbian or gay may be difficult in society, but I would still be loved and treated the same.” I have no daught that there are people that are more attracted to people of the same sex then the opposite sex. In today’s society it is very chic. There are places and occupations that as a heterosexual man I would not be welcome. To people that have been inundated with homosexual images and programming it is a viable chose. That is exactly how it is viewed. You can deny it till the bull comes home. That doesn’t change the facts. “According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation is not a choice.” According Felicia and the National Association of Clinical Psychologists it is a choose. So is poly relationships, and having sexual relations with anyone or thing else.
steven bradley February 25, 2012 at 01:26 PM
So anyone that makes a chose needs to be protected from discrimination based on that chose. Lets repeal this on referendum and work together on drafting legislation that would be comprehensive anti discrimination legislation.
Brandon February 25, 2012 at 01:48 PM
The "choice" LGBT people make is to be authentic. You seem to be making the choice to harass with your "choice" of words. Its OK to disprove, but do it on the merits of a valid n argument. When LGBT people use names for you like "hater" or "breeder" its just as disparaging. I get the impression that you would rather be a bully that have a discussion. its pr
Brandon February 25, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Steven, A search for "National Association of Clinical Psychologists" yields no results. The "National Association of Clinical Psycholgy" does however, and it is a division of the American Psychological Association, which has been pointed out to support the idea that homosexuality is not a choice. The validity of these kinds of claims comes down how widely the credentials of the organization making the claims are.
steven bradley February 25, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Brandon, What does "homosexuality is not a choice" exactly mean?
steven bradley February 25, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Brandon, I have no intention of bullying. I did not choose to harass anyone. It seems that I have just been called a bully by you and accused of harassment for having a debate with someone I feel has offered reasonable information that is different then mine. I would like to feel the information I have presented is reasonable and valid. I have no ill will towards Casey or anyone else I have directed my comments to. If you would like to debate please understand I will probably present facts you do not like or agree with. That does not make them invalid.
Brandon February 25, 2012 at 07:38 PM
What I mean by "homosexuality is not a choice" is simple. A person's sexual orientation is what dictates who that person is attracted to with respect to in 1) an emotional way 2) sexual way. And since "homosexuality" is a sexal orientation I am saying that "sexual orientation" is not a choice.
steven bradley February 25, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Brandon, I have an emotional connection with friends of mine that are the same sex and I could go out tonight and have sexual relations with someone of the same sex. We could continue to do so and I could develop an emotional bond with this person. I could call myself homosexual without doing any of these things. These are choices I could make in my life. The fact that I have not chosen to do these things means I have a choice and you don’t? Some people are attracted to people that are much younger then them. We have seen a bunch of reports of a high profile person that had sexual relations with minors of the same sex. Did he not have a choice?
Casey A February 26, 2012 at 01:52 AM
steven bradley - That is the difference in our arguments. I quote professional mental health associations whose members have degrees in psychology when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. You make up documents and fake groups to support your argument. Kinda sad.
Casey A February 26, 2012 at 02:03 AM
steven bradley - I brought up interspecies and underage marriage because that is what the majority of posts I have read argue will happen if gay marriage is allowed. I repeat my argument that this did not happen after the laws banning interracial marriages were implemented, and this will not happen after gay marriage is legal.
Casey A February 26, 2012 at 02:11 AM
steven bradley - Sexual orientation is not a choice. You can make up as many false documents and mental health associations that you want (as you did when you quoted the National Association of Clinical Psychologists, which you admit is a group that you made up), but the fact remains that the American Psychological Association and its 154,000 members with degrees in psychology have state that sexual orientation is not a choice. I think comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation is a great idea, and I would actively support it.
steven bradley February 26, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Casey, You don’t have to be sad. Someone made up the professional group you quoted at some point in time. It is not as if it was there and somebody stumbled upon it and its mission statement. I demonstrated how a group is formed and how to begin to spread the group’s beliefs. I did a quick check before I created the group to see if anyone else laid claim to the name before I used it and I wrote its first document and quoted part of it to you. That is basically how you start any group of that type. All I’d have to do is file the paperwork and it wouldn’t be anymore fake then the groups you quote. If it was in my interest I could grow the group with like minded professionals, solicit donations to run the group and even present evidence to the government as an expert witness. It really is that simple. If we wanted to learn something useful from “professional mental health organizations” then it would be great to learn what “chemical imbalance” really means, what chemical is actually out of balance and how to treat those that supposedly suffer from it other then just prescribe one drug after another and tell them be happy and good luck. Your “professional mental health organizations” are hooey my friend.
Casey A February 26, 2012 at 03:01 AM
steven bradley - Members of the professional mental health associations that I quoted have degrees in mental health, and they sponsor studies on mental health issues. For instance, homosexuality is considered normal because of studies (the first of which was in 1957) that showed that there was, "No scientific basis for inferring a predisposition to psychopathology or other maladjustment as intrinsic to homosexuality or bisexuality." Source - American Psychological Association. You are free to create whatever professional group you want, but if the people in the group do not have the credentials to back up their conclusions, their statements will have little to no credibility.
Rob March 02, 2012 at 12:26 AM
You're the one that thinks it's ok for adults to marry minors and relatives. I am for marriage between 1 man and 1 woman and that's it.
Casey A March 02, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Rob - Stop the hate.
Casey A March 02, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Rob - You stated above that, ""Everyone reading this knows that there are adults dating minors - it might be a 25 year old dating a 16 year old or it might be a 40 year old dating a 14 year old." You must know different people than I do because I do not know any adults who are in relationships with minors, and if I did, I would turn them in to the police. I am for marriage between 2 adults, regardless of the gender. That does not mean that I support pedophilia (as that impinges on the rights of the child involved) or beastiality (as that impinges on the rights of the animal involved).
Adam March 02, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Let's close out this thread with a first-rate recent quote from George Takei: "Claiming that someone else's marriage is against your religion [or morals] is like saying that someone else can't eat a donut because you're on a diet."
Casey A March 02, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Adam - Well said, and thank you for the quote!
Margaret May 25, 2012 at 01:51 PM
God said Adam and Eve Not Steve and William It is unnatural. They can have babies a like man and woman can.
Tim May 25, 2012 at 02:30 PM
You are correct, that Steve and William can't have a child. They can adopt and raise a child better then Steve and William can. You know, a child abandoned by "natural" means. Moreover, you make this 100% assumption God exists. He may. He may not. You don't know. People blindly believe based on stories. People also believe in different manifestations of God. It doesn't make you right or wrong (because nothing is provable, one way or the other). The one thing I keep going back to, is the real irony is that I thought Jesus once told his apostles to love one another as I've loved you. He'd be shaking his head at the lot of you today, I suspect.
Brandon May 25, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Ultimately you are saying the only purpose for relationship is to have babies. In my world this is not always the case. When my 52 year old grandmother got remarried after the death of my grandfather she was not getting remarried to have more children. Adam and Eve were the first Biblical example of a couple and I don't recall a marriage ceremony. That truth is in the Bible too. In a world where the first example were the only truth all other races would be "Biblicaly wrong" according to your perspective. The world have evolved since the day Adam & Eve were created. the population has expanded and there is more genetic diversity. The world changes a little bit each day and I think that is a gift from God that you reject when you do not accept that He has a hand in that too. And as far as your thinking that homosexuality is "unnatural" you are simply wrong. Homosexual expression is documented to occur in more than 200 species.
Michael Ernest May 25, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Save your breath, no amount of drivel will change my mind on this issue. At election time assuming it goes to referendum, i know how I will vote. Should the law be struck down, i will be overjoyed. Should it not be struck down, I will be disappointed but accept the fact that the majority disagrees with me and my conscience.
amdactivist May 25, 2012 at 06:04 PM
wade kach was the deciding vote thanks to O'malley's threats minutes before the vote..
wilson May 25, 2012 at 06:26 PM
sounds like he got fixed like dog .
Brandon May 25, 2012 at 06:40 PM
sounds like sour grapes on yous two parts. :)
Tim May 25, 2012 at 06:51 PM
and your conscience supports oppressing others rights? Nice. No better then the charlatans in the Vatican.
wilson May 25, 2012 at 07:37 PM
my momma always said . wen that litle voice starts talkin to you . sometimes best to not listen .
wilson May 25, 2012 at 07:40 PM
a dog witout bells is no dog at all . momma said once u lose your bells they dont ever come back .

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