By JOSHUA LYNSEN | Mar 22, 4:55 PM
An attempt to
constitutionally ban same-sex marriage in Maryland died Thursday when a House
committee voted to kill the measure.
The judiciary committee
voted 12-8 to reject House Bill 919, which also sought to bar public schools
from teaching about “same-sex relationships.” The measure was considered
unlikely to pass the General Assembly and would have faced a gubernatorial
Although the vote came
largely along party lines, two Democrats supported the measure.
Dels. Kevin Kelly
(D-Allegany County) and Gerron Levi (D-Prince George’s County) voted to support
the bill. Neither delegate was immediately available for comment.
Despite the two crossover
votes, Dan Furmansky, executive director of Equality Maryland, said he was
pleased the committee rejected the measure.
“Clearly,” he said, “the
strong and compelling witnesses who testified against this bill were heard by
the lopsided majority of legislators who rejected the legislation.”
Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne
Arundel County), the bill’s author and a judiciary committee member, did not
immediately respond to a request for comment.
But Rick Bowers, chair of
Defend Maryland Marriage and pastor of Living Stone House of Worship in
Pasadena, Md., said the amendment fight isn’t over.
“To me, I don’t think the
effort is dead until the final bell rings,” he said. “There’s always hope
available until the end.”
Furmansky said for all
practical purposes, though, the amendment has been defeated. A similar bill
pending in the Senate judicial proceedings committee is unlikely to come up for
vote before the session concludes April 9.
“Once one side kills it,
there’s really no reason for the other side to pick it up,” he said. “It’s sort
of protocol for the other side not to pick it up.”
Furmansky said Equality
Maryland lobbyists are still working to pass bills that would outlaw
discrimination against transgender people.
Bills pending in the House
and Senate would bar discrimination against transgender men and women in the
areas of employment, housing, credit and public accommodations.
Although no one spoke
against the bill during a Senate committee hearing earlier this month,
Furmansky said the bill remains “stuck in committee.”
He said the judicial
proceedings committee chair, Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County), “won’t
bring the bill for a vote.”
Frosh’s stance is
surprising, Furmansky said, because the legislator indicated to Equality
Maryland in his 2006 candidate questionnaire that he would support adding “gender
identity and expression” to Maryland’s anti-discrimination law. The bill does
Frosh did not immediately
respond to a request for comment.
“My guess,” Furmansky said,
“is that there is a reluctance by the leadership to let the bill out of
committee because of the perception it could cause problems on the (Senate)
Furmansky said Equality
Maryland has asked its members and supporters to call Frosh “and urge him to
bring the bill to a vote.”
Joshua Lynsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-Mail this article
Letter to the Editor
Sound Off about this article