BREAKING: Maryland Marriage Equality Bill Killed for This Year, Returned to Committee


The Maryland House has postponed a vote on marriage equality, sending the bill back to committee after several hours of debate, perhaps because supporters didn't feel it had the votes to pass. 

The Washington Post reported the bill dead for this year.

The Baltimore Sun:

Instead of voting on same-sex marriage on Friday, the House of Delegates has moved the bill backward — returning it to the committee that nearly killed it last week.

The high-stakes move saved the chamber's 141 members from having to declare a position on the divisive issue.

It's unclear what will happen next. The Senate signed off on the plan last month, but it has faced a rocky road in the House.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and other foes of equality have been threatening lawmakers over the vote in recent days.

NOM's Brian Brown tweeted after the House's actions that it was a "great day for marriage."


So disappointing.


  1. Francis says

    Unfortunate, I feel horrible for the same-sex couples in Maryland being slung through the mud like a football by these legislators. However, none of this is surprising. We’ve seen this time in, time out. Even with a majority of Maryland citizens supporting equality, most politicians simply will not do anything when it comes towards our rights. Especially since 2012 is right around the corner. It’s upsetting, but we need to hold these people accountable for their actions, and not rely on them for anything. It’s gonna be the courts where we get what we require.

  2. acamd says

    Equality Maryland was completely unprepared for the House of Delegates. You could feel the slight tremors of disorganization and discord during the entire House debate that differed substantially from weeks when it was going through the Senate. EQMD and the media kept perpetuating a message that passage in the House was all but assured and we need just focus on the Senate.

    The delegates they got early commitments from were wholly unprepared for the opposition and got run over. “Standing on the side of love” is a cute slogan and all but that does little to appeal to undecideds.

    Once the bill started moving and there was opposition, it was like they didn’t know what to do. But that didn’t stop them from having two “celebrations” for marriage equality [read: fundraisers] during the past few weekends.

    Totally disappointed.

  3. Javier says

    It would have been voided/suspended this year, and undone by voters next year even if the House voted for it. Those pushing for the MD Assembly to vote for this right now are merely asking for the voters to undo gay marriage in yet another state. We know that pivotal Prince George’s County voters are against same-sex marriage, as reflected by the majority of Democratic legislators there who are against same-sex marriage. PG COunty has over 800,000 people, and is critical to winning any election/vote. PG County is home to a very large and organized religious conservative community and is filled with outspoken megachurches and religious conservatives. Montgomery County is probably the only jurisdiction where gay marriage would win with voters, but it doesnt have any votes to overwhelm the rest of the state’s anti-gay vote. Baltimore City and Baltimore County would have voted against gay marriage for sure. At least we will be spared the supreme embarrassment of seeing yet another state’s voters veto gay marriage.

  4. OBD says

    “Equality Maryland was completely unprepared for the House of Delegates.”

    They seem to take everything for granted.

    I’m on their mailing list, and they acted as if everything were guaranteed. I keep reading “when we pass marriage equality in 2011.” Not IF, but WHEN – the height of arrogance.

    I’m so sick of these feckless activist groups on our side taking things for granted.

  5. steve says

    So much hate toward gay people. SO SAD.
    We must demand our civil rights from all political parties and HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

  6. Javier says

    Even the best, polls show that perhaps an anemic 51 or 52 percent of Marylanders SAY they support same-sex marriage, but polls have shown similar numbers in other states, but on election day, the anti-gay vote has prevailed every single time. Polling consistently significantly underestimates the antigay vote and overestimates the progay vote, without exception. Maryland is not the exception to every other state that has voted on the issue. Moreover, as an African-American, I can assure you that the large religious African-American population in MD would present a formidable problem to upholding the law with voters. I have not seen the gay community do the type of extensive, ongoing outreach to Blacks and religious people that is necessary before we even think about withstanding a ballot initiative.

  7. really? says

    Perhaps all of the blacks that vote against equality could have their rights voted on again next? Just because you had to fight for your rights once before doesn’t give you the privilege to keep someone else from having theirs. Disgusting.

  8. ichabod says

    So deeply, deeply disappointing. But we’ll keep fighting –and winning. Just not quite yet in Maryland.

  9. TampaZeke says

    “In the end what we will remember is not be the hateful words and deeds of our enemies but the silence (and spinelessness) of our friends.” MLK Jr. (adapted)

  10. Francis says

    Really?, as someone who is mixed I can pretty much tell you what the deal is. Most people in the black community, even many gays, pretty much see it as an insult that our fight for equality is seen as a civil rights fight. So, they harbor some resentment towards us for that reason, in their eyes, we just aren’t equals to them. Then, you have the religious factor, and the fact most of the black community is conservative. However, it’s not just the black community who have created this situation, and that needs to be stated before they take all the blame, however PG county or Baltimore, the overall structure of the culture tilts anti-gay.

  11. Francis says

    Again, the black community are not solely to blame for this situation. And not all black people are anti-gay. The problem is people putting morality over legality. It’s gonna be some of the court cases in the system that will be our big break, it’s not going to be legislators.

  12. jersey says

    As others have said, the problem is not blacks, it’s Christian fundamentalists and religious conservatives. Any outreach from here on out needs to start and end with those communities, as tough as the conversations may be.

  13. Francis says

    Javier, it’s not that the polls overestimate the gay vote. It’s that the gay vote doesn’t vote. Most of our supporters are people under 18, and 18-32. In Maryland, like 70% of people in that age range support marriage equality, but it’s in the 30s in other groups. The average voter tends to be middle aged/older, religious and white, and when it comes to these anti-gay initiatives, the black community tends to vote in strong numbers also. Our issues stem from what Jersey has said, the God factor. It’s the God factor that drives these bigots to be stronger than our supporters in supporting our rights, even stronger than many gays. It’s the God factor that leads these politicians to vote against us. It’s like an elephant in the room, people don’t want to get real and outspoken about the issue at hand here. Religious bigots are the problem, and they need to be called out for their hate.

  14. Derrick from Philly says

    “It’s because of the majority of ignorant blacks…”

    Absolutely, because the majority of enlightened White Republicans would make sure marriage equality for Gays becomes a reality, wouldn’t they?

    “Perhaps all of the blacks that vote against equality could have their rights voted on again next? Just because you had to fight for your rights once before doesn’t give you the privilege to keep someone else from having theirs. Disgusting”

    Actually, the people & legislature of Maryland would never have voted to give Blacks their civil rights. Maryland was a segregationist state for many decades.

    How the hell did this discussion go here? I thought the Lt. Governor and the Black delegates to the Maryland legislature were for this marriage equality bill. Are y’all cursing them also? Of course, the Black church folks were going to give you opposition–just like the White church folks would.

    Just like the day after Proposition 8, the White Gays who hate Blacks anyway use these moments to vent their (already present) hatred. Well, we can hate back.

  15. Bruno says

    While it’s disappointing, it’s probably best that this was kept away from the animus of the voters in 2012. Let’s focus on states where people’s rights can’t be subjected to a referendum this year…NY and RI.

  16. EO says

    I’m sick of people not calling out the “traditional marriage” bullshitters. You want to protect traditional marriage and biblical values? Fine. “Traditional” marriage involved a contract between a man and a young girl’s father. It was an exchange of property, a dowry, and placing the girl, often against her will, into the servitude of a man who then also gave her the burden of providing him children. I’d love to see how long these “traditional marriage” people would tolerate that scenario.

  17. jersey says

    EO, focusing on that kind of thing is good primal scream therapy but it’s not good politics. Our leaders will need to work from the ground up and build relationships with many of those “traditional marriage” people who are not with us right now. Mocking them will not make them see the light.

  18. steve says

    This is the kind of hate (black versus gay) that the religious right and republicans depend on in order to keep minority communties in tow.
    We do not need to compare who has had a tougher battle on civil rights WE JUST NEED TO SUPPORT CIVIL RIGHTS FOR ALL!

  19. Chitown Kev says

    Thank you Derrick from Philly, I really didn’t feel like sorting through all of the racist asshattery.

    I don’t know, I kind of figure that it’s better that the bill dies now than to go through the refendum process, especially as it seems as of white gays have learned nothing from the very different approaches taken with minority communitites in California and Wahington DC.

    But…hell, the white gays can’t even get all the WHITE GAYS (like Sen. Carl Kruger) to vote for marriage equality

  20. AJD says

    While I won’t stoop to scapegoating black people for this, I’m getting tired of the whole “I’m against same-sex marriage, and I’m offended when you try to compare gay rights to civil rights” thing.

    In regards to that, I would submit that my Native American step-father finds it pretty offensive that a lot of black people seem to think they have some sort of trademark on “civil rights,” as though they’re the only minority to have ever been oppressed and to fight back against that oppression.

    Not only that, but it’s worth bearing in mind that Bayard Rustin was gay, Angela Davis is a lesbian and Huey Newton, Coretta Scott King and Julian Bond were/are longtime supporters of GLBT rights.

  21. Chitown Kev says


    Actually, I agree with all of your points.

    But that’s a rant that 1) would not be for the faint of heart and 2) not for a towleroad comment section.

  22. TampaZeke says

    We’re too busy trying to make people like us when it’s FEAR that they respond to. Legislators will only vote for our rights when they fear US more than they do the people who hate us.

  23. Mark says

    Here’s what the problem is that no one is addressing, either by choice or by ignorance…

    The gay community is a rather weak one. How many gay profiles do you read on connexion,, or other gay social networking sites where a majority of men state:
    “Not out AT ALL!”
    “My sexuality is reserved for my bedroom, I don’t like to talk about it, flaunt it”
    “I’m a Conservative Christian with morals who happens to be gay. Gay marriage isn’t that important to me.”

    There’s a sea of above commentary made BY gay men FOR gay men…and then we wonder why gay rights legislation is not taken seriously? Well, for starters, it requires gay people to take themselves seriously. To take the shame out of being gay. To realize no self respecting straight person hides or is timid of being straight.

    There’s so many gay folks who are simply out for themselves and don’t care at all about the larger picture, and have internalized homophobia beat to them by their family that has stuck with them; first we are in need of changing GAY minds to be more accepting of gay, before we seek heteros to “get it”

    There’s so many divisive anti gay voices within the gay community that it’s not startling to see our civil rights stalled like this. We need to encourage a sense of unity and community within our LGBT and right then we will see incredible success and shift in minds. That requires each of us to do our part and be open and honest about who we are, while encouraging other LGBT to do the same.

  24. Derrick from Philly says

    “Not only that, but it’s worth bearing in mind that Bayard Rustin was gay, Angela Davis is a lesbian and Huey Newton, Coretta Scott King and Julian Bond were/are longtime supporters of GLBT rights”

    All the more reason for you and other White Gays to understand how offensive it is to Black Gays when you insult us.

    White Gays are going have to find language to criticize Black homophobes that does not insult Black folks in general. If you can’t then you make me choose this: when I’m around homophobic Blacks–I am Gay first and Black second. When I’m around racist White Gays then I must be Black first and Gay second. I’ve got to protect myself.

    I intend to protect myself from anti-Gay Black bigots and racist White Gay bigots.

    “In regards to that, I would submit that my Native American step-father finds it pretty offensive that a lot of black people seem to think they have some sort of trademark on “civil rights,” as though they’re the only minority to have ever been oppressed and to fight back against that oppression”

    He WOULD have that attitude if those kind of narrow-minded Black people were the only ones that seemed to get his attention–the only ones he ever seems to notice.

    Did you ever tell your step-daddy about Bayard Rustin, Angela Davis, Huey Newton, Coretta Scott King and Julian Bond? Hunh? And you might throw in Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela as a grand finale.

    I’ll protect myself from Native American bigots too.

  25. says

    “”Great day for marriage”

    Wow. How evil do you have to be to gloat over this?”

    But they’re not evil…. they’re RIGHTEOUS!

    Only truly unenlightened folk like the ilk over at NOM look at their evil and despicable actions and claim them to be right.

    Sadly, this fight will never end until we got a solid SCOTUS ruling that

    1.) Determines gay and lesbian men are a suspect class.
    2.) Rule DOMA completely unconstitutional.

    A trial like that, unfortunately, is years in the making.

  26. SteveATL says

    Mark, I right clicked and saved your words. I find them to be profound and poignant. That lack of passion and “meh” right within our own community is what I long contributed to the lack of rights we experience.
    Imagine if every gay person could accept themselves, love themselves, be honest with who they were, and then just half- or ideally all- of those same said people could actively be involved in the very worthy cause of equality. Great or small, little or large, if each gay person volunteered, or wrote a letter to a politician, or joined a campaign, or started a petition, or spoke to gay youth programs, or spoke to their own loved ones, and spoke from the heart what it means to be gay and what it means to feel like everyone’s equal, I assure you all, we would have not only had overwhelming majority of support but experienced full equality by now.
    I too feel the end result of gay rights boils down to gays, and those who are closeted or speak ill of being gay are sadly the biggest road block to success.

  27. IonMusic says

    I echo both Mark and SteveATL’s points.

    Also want to add, for those critical of gay rights orginizations who are commenting what would be a more effective approach, you basically set yourself up to get asked this question but….what have YOU done for gay rights? Other than anonymousley comment on a forum about it, have you joined an alliance or orginization? donated your efforts or time? I certainly do, and have very limited resources and am hardly living a priviliged life, yet the gay orginizations I called were more than willing to take me and my ideas in with open arms. They could use it, they need it, so instead of sitting back and waiting for others to do the work for you all while you look at your watch, why don’t you be a grown ass adult and lift your weight?
    Too many damn people expect others to do everything for them. In this particular case (equal rights) if really is going to take the efforts of every single gay person. As another poster said above, they don’t respect us until they fear us and they fear the NOMs of the world because those people are galvanized and they all join forces. Unlike gay people who sit back and expect this pro gay group or that pro gay group to do all the work for them.

  28. Francis says

    I agree Mark and Steve, the lack of passion and the lack of priorities in the gay community is startling. Things like this make me so hurt and angry, but a large portion of LBGTs seem more concerned with fitting in, being “accepted” by society, or being popular in the social scene. All of which is due to internalized homophobia and a need of approval. Which is why I don’t think it’s our fault we see things like this happen. First of all, we’ve made major progress. Less than 10 years ago, a majority of people thought homosexuality should be illegal in the US. We have a wide majority of support in the under 18 and 18-32 crowd. Also, the self-hating crowd, ultimately help overall LGBT support, because people look at them and realize “wow, anti-gays are hypocrites and these people are sad”. In fact, that has been proven by studies. We need to get louder and be tougher, but ultimately, it’s the straights who love us and support us who are going to create the widespread change. They are the ones who will have the gay friends, who will then become friends with other straights, and it creates a chain of people who befriend and accept one another with increased visibility and without sexuality being an issue.

  29. EvilIdiots says

    These threads are so predictable.

    1. Some white gays with racial issues wrongly use blacks as scapegoats.

    2. The black defenders act like homophobia in the black community is the fault of white gays.

    1 and 2, back and forth, repeat, repeat, repeat.

  30. Phil says

    Derrick from Philly wrote: “White Gays are going have to find language to criticize Black homophobes that does not insult Black folks in general.”

    Derrick, I think I can propose something that would be a winning argument with Black homophobes, but wouldn’t work at all with White homophobes, and it’s a practical argument, not a moral one. What homophobes in general are ignoring are rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, and they want to suppress those constitutional rights because they can get a voting majority behind the effort. If you accept that principle, there are no potentially dangerous consequences for White homophobes because they’re sure that no voting majority would ever suppress their constitutional rights.

    However, it would be EVER SO DANGEROUS for their own constituency if ministers of Black churches suggested this. The reasons should be obvious. During the 2008 election, virulent White opponents of Obama wallowed in graphic racist insults and physical threats aimed at Obama. If the White Christian fundamentalists who hate Obama can successfully suppress constitutional rights for LGBT people, why would they stop there, seeing as how deeply racist they are? Do Black homophobes think that the White fundamentalist/Tea Party gang won’t try to suppress the rights of African-Americans? Believe me, there are all sorts of ways to do this–laws can be selectively enforced and manipulated in all kinds of racist ways.

    Therefore…it is simply not realistic for Black homophobes to wish for a country where constitutional rights are suppressed by the changing whims of the majority. The fundies and the Tea Partiers are not going to stop at LGBT rights just because African-Americans say “pretty please”. They DO NOT LIKE BLACK PEOPLE. I think this argument would resonate with Black homophobes. I’m just sorry that it wouldn’t be as effective with White homophobes.

  31. Javier says

    As an African-American, I am definitely not saying that most anti-gay marriage voters are Black in Maryland. In fact, outside of the urban/suburban corridor between DC and Baltimore,there are few non-Whites,and the large majority of people in those regions are White. While Maryland has a reputation of being a liberal Democratic state, it is not that socially liberal. Democrats win begin of a coalition of social progressives in places like Montgomery County, socially conservative yet fiscally liberal Blacks in PG County and Baltimore, government workers, and Hispanics. Only socially progressive suburbanites are likely to support same-sex marriage in Maryland. Also, Blacks in Maryland generally are much more socially and religiously conservative than their counterparts in Pacific and Northern states. There are some huge megachurches in PG that can galvanize scores of thousands of voters in a heartbeat, and this fact was not lost on PG, Howard, Anne Arundel, and Charles county politicians. This issue splits the Democratic coalition and reflects the fact that only some Maryland Democrats are social progressives. Still, without the Democratic coalition in the suburban/urban corridor, Maryland would be a deep red state.

  32. Chitown Kev says

    2. The black defenders act like homophobia in the black community is the fault of white gays.

    No we don’t. Or at least I don’t.

    We understand quite well that, by and large, the churches are the political and even social centers of our communities and there’s reasons why that is the case.

  33. X says

    We have every right to be enraged by this, when your own country continuous to segregate us and make our lives harder than everyone else’s. I’m furious. How to capture that and use it appropriately, though?

    I’m not going to keep *asking* for equality. We have to claim it.

  34. CPT_Doom says

    So, the only response should be this – question/fight/legally stop EVERY MARRIAGE IN MARYLAND. They want marriage to be between “a man and a woman,” fine. What we need is a lawyer with gonads who will fight the issuance of any marriage license that does not meet that definition. Seeing as there is no test for gender required when breeders get licenses, there are no valid marriage licenses. Stop breeder marriage if equality is not recognized.

  35. BMF says

    I really have to wonder if Javier is African American. I mean I’m reading all this pontification about MD’s poltical climate, but no data. Unless you have data backing up your “analysis,” you should probably stop.

    Three other things.

    One, Washington, D.C. has gay marriage. The African American representatives of African American voters in a majority African American city made that possible.

    Two: let’s not forget that the lilly-white state of Maine also rejected gay marriage in about the same percentages as California.

    Three: it sounds like the votes weren’t there to start. Seems to me that was error #1. But, there will be a next time and I just hope the folks spearheading this have learned something.

  36. Phil says


    Thank you for mentioning the racial makeup of Washington, D.C. (a marriage-equality success) and Maine (a marriage-equality failure). Your point is very well taken.

  37. Randy says

    This should have gone to a vote, even if it was destined to fail. Now everyone can claim they took every position, because they aren’t on record.

    This is being interpreted as a fail anyway. So let it be official. Maryland LGBT organizations need to make a stink about this. They must vote.

  38. says

    Seriously folks, the time has come for gay men and women to go on Strike….. MAJOR STRIKE -Starting with not serving on jury duty and refusing to be part of mainstream society. I do not have all the answers but it seems to me that organizing a national boycott of just about everything possible is in order. We will not take this second class citizen crap anymore!

  39. Donald says

    I think the whole failure was planned from the beginning. It breezed through the Senate, went through Committee quickly and then failed to come to a vote to get the Representatives on record? (Not even 10 minutes after it was sent back to committee did I receive a donation request from Maryland Equality/HRC saying we need money so we can win next time.) This way, every Rep. won, they can go back home and say how hard they fought, other legislation more important to them gets passed. Every one is a winner except the gays.

  40. KD says

    Look, the reason people are harping on black people is because they are Democratic voters who are anti-gay. No one likes people in their own party denying them their rights. In addition, right or wrong most white people think black people should know better because black people have and still are systematically discriminated against and thus should be able to spot and fight against discrimination wherever it exists. Instead a disproportionate number of black people actively support gay discrimination. So there’s your reasoning why people are up in arms about black people as a voting bloc more than white republicans.

  41. Will says

    “So there’s your reasoning why people are up in arms about black people as a voting bloc more than white republicans.”

    Or, they are just racist. You shouldn’t expect blacks just to fall behind gays because they are discriminated against based on sexuality. Sexuality, although not a choice, can be hidden for the most part. That isn’t usually true of race.

    If gays want to make inroads into the black community, they should try harder in building bridges and having some dialogue about this instead of demonizing a race of people.

    A heterosexual Black person for Gay rights.