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Marriage Equality Bill Introduced in Maryland Senate, Should Pass

A marriage equality bill (SB 116) has been introduced in the Maryland senate, Wonk Room reports.

Garagiola Senator Robert Garagiola (pictured) introduced the bill, saying, in part:

"Under the terms of the Act, an official of a religious institution or body who is authorized to solemnize marriages, may not be required to solemnize any marriage in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution, or Article 36 of our Constitution. As amended, the bill also provides that a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit operated by one, may not be required to provide services accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request is related to the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs."

According to current counts, marriage equality has the needed votes to pass in the Maryland senate.

Over the weekend, the Maryland GOP called its members to action, urging them to lobby senators to vote against the bill. In an email, Maryland GOP chair Alex Mooney wrote:

"Dear Fellow Republican, Help us take a stand in defense of traditional marriage. A few key state Senators will soon decide whether or not the Maryland Senate will change the law to redefine marriage. Our state's long standing tradition of promoting marriage as between one man and one woman will be drastically altered to legally define marriage as between two men or two women."

Listen to the audio of the bill's introduction by Garagiola, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. these people are like children......Marriage is NOT going to be re-defined - ONLY in your OWN Mind.....No one is forcing anyone to marry anyone....your marriage will be defined by the way you marry.....Dahhhhhhh

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Feb 22, 2011 11:54:55 AM


  2. They should really start adding the word "anti-gay" in front of the word "religious" on these bills because many religious organizations would happily marry two men or two women. Homophobes do not speak for all religions. Gay-friendly religious organizations ought to start speaking up about this issue if they do not already. This bill should have been written as follows to make the distinction clear and further isolate the homophobes:

    "Under the terms of the Act, an official of an ANTI-GAY religious institution or body who is authorized to solemnize marriages, may not be required to solemnize any marriage in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution, or Article 36 of our Constitution. As amended, the bill also provides that an ANTI-GAY religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit operated by one, may not be required to provide services accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an LGBT individual if the request is related to the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of marriage that is in violation of the entity’s ANTI-GAY religious beliefs."

    Posted by: Anonymouse | Feb 22, 2011 12:00:48 PM


  3. Of course, if we told them they were simply being paranoid... But I honestly wonder: don't these people ever get tired of being frightened... and bullied?

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Feb 22, 2011 3:19:06 PM


  4. Here is the email I wrote to my state senator yesterday:

    Dear Senator Pinsky,

    Billy McNeel and I are so happy to know that you are a co-sponsor for Senate Bill 116. Thank you for your support. We live in your district and are both proud to have voted for you.

    I also know that today you will likely encounter some of the people from various Roman Catholic communities as they come to Annapolis for their lobbying day. Doubtless, they will ask you to reconsider your vote.

    I hope that you will remind them that passage of SB 116 will protect the religious freedom of ALL of the different religious denominations in Maryland. The strong religious freedom provisions of the bill mean that a Roman Catholic priest will not be obliged to marry a couple who are of the same-sex, just as presently that same priest can decline to marry someone who has previously been divorced--even though the civil law in Maryland does allow for remarriage after a divorce.

    At the same time, passage of this bill will protect the religious freedom of congregations like the one that Billy and I belong to. Our Episcopal parish, St. George's, Glenn Dale, MD supports same-sex couples. In fact, six couples from our parish--including Billy and me--have gone to the District of Columbia to be married in a civil ceremony, and afterwards we have held blessings of those relationships in our church by our priest. We were civilly married on Friday, June 18, 2010 on a beautiful sunny day in the National Arboretum in Washington, DC. The blessing of our marriage was held at St. George’s the next day at 11 am surrounded by 140 friends and family members. Legalizing our 17 year long relationship was a very important event in our lives. Even though both events were wonderful occasions, how much more wonderful would it have been if we had been able to get married in the state where Billy has lived all of his 51 years and which I have called home for the last 22!

    When SB 116 passes and becomes law, our church will have its religious freedom protected by being able to marry couples who choose to get married in our church rather than having to cross the state line into DC.

    Best wishes,

    Roy Peterson

    Posted by: dctopman | Feb 22, 2011 3:37:34 PM


  5. Anonymouse- Standing On The Side Of Love (standingonthesideoflove.org) is a pubic advocacy campaign sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association. The campaign is speaking up about this issue by giving a voice to compassionate religious people and congregations promoting social justice causes, including LGBT rights and marriage equality. Their campaign director is the wonderful Dan Furmansky, who is the immediate past executive director of Equality Maryland.

    Posted by: K | Feb 22, 2011 4:20:11 PM


  6. Congratulations Roy and Billy on getting hitched! Your letter is one that every legislator in the country should read (and hopefully receive from some couple in their district). Thanks for sharing.

    Time for every pro-gay person in this country to get ready for the inevitable smear campaign that will be waged in Maryland by hate-groups like NOM and the anti-gay leaders of the Catholic and Mormon "churches" to vote away our rights, once this bill is passed.

    We narrowly lost such ballot measures in California and Maine. Let's make sure we win this time in Maryland. Start sending money to Equality Maryland and contacting people you know who live in the state to help pass this bill and then work to defend it at the ballot box.

    Go Free State!

    Posted by: TruthSeeker_Too | Feb 23, 2011 6:50:37 AM


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