In this section, "SSM" means "same-sex marriage;"
LGBT" means "lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered persons
2012-FEB-20: Criticism of Del. Wade Kach for changing his position on same-sex marriage:
The Christian Post, an evangelical Christian news source, discussed criticism that Delegate Wade Kach (R) received because he changed his mind "overnight" about same-sex marriage. 1 Some speculation:
A friend and political ally of Kach, Ellen Sauerbrey, said:
"I look at this and say it makes no sense unless there is something else we don't know. ...I am totally bewildered by this. ... His decision made no sense." 1
Del. Joseph Boteler (R) said:
"I really am very surprised that Wade is going to change his vote. I think he feels that the issue is not a big deal. It's really hard to read him on this issue."
Boteler also expressed the opinion that it is unlikely that Kach will be re-elected in 2014. He said:
"I told him I don't think this district will be very happy about his vote for the gay marriage legislation." 1
Apparently, what actually changed his mind was testimony given at the House joint committee hearing. He later explained in front of the House that he now viewed same-sex marriage from the standpoint of the children in the family. He said:
"I'm a pro-life legislator and as a pro-life legislator, I believe that it is my responsibility to make certain that children are taken care of. This child –- if this couple were to be able to have a civil marriage -- would be taken care of. This child would have the rights that a child of a traditional married couple would have. So, I left that hearing a changed person. ... I thought to myself I'm sent here to represent my constituents. I'm sent here because my constituents have faith in my judgment."
"However, my constituents did not send me here to judge people. So I am casting a green vote for this bill and I'm hoping all of you that especially care about children will think of them and hopefully we are going to -- as a state all of our children are going to -- have the same rights so that they can prosper in this state." 1
The right to which he refers is apparently the right for same-sex parents to call their relationship a marriage. For many such families it may well be the most important of all of the state rights associated with marriage. It recognizes their love and personal commitment to each other and to their children. It gives them an improved status in the community. Their children are no longer considered illegitimate by many.
Below is a video from a NEW JERSEY hearing before that state's Assembly Judicial Committee. In it, Madison Galluccio, 15, made an emotional plea to lawmakers to let her two dads, John and Michael Galluccio, marry and let her family feel equal. We suspect that it was testimony like this in the Maryland House Committee that changed Wade Kach's mind.
Madison told the Committee:
“I do have to say that New Jersey has made me feel discriminated [against], like I’m some sort of outcast. But guess what New Jersey? I’m no outcast. I am Madison Galluccio, and I am part of the Galluccio family. My parents will be married, and I will [work to] make sure that this happens till the day that I die. So please, will you help me? Help me feel equal. We aren’t different. I’m not different. And I shouldn’t have to be forced to feel like I’m different. This is my family, and I want us to be able to have the same rights as you. So NJ, please give me my freedom." 2
2012-FEB-23: Maryland Senate passes SSM bill:
Three legislators, all of whom opposed the bill, introduced six amendments. Each amendment was rejected by a strong majority. The goals of the amendments were:
To prevent persons under the age of 18 from marrying a person of the same sex.
To permit allow religious institutions and organizations to refuse to rent or sell housing units to same-sex couples.
To change the name of the bill to the Marriage Redefinition Act, apparently to generate increased opposition to the act.
To allow parents to prevent their children in public school from learning about same-sex relationships. Presumably the intent was to keep the children ignorant of homosexuality in the hopes that they wouldn't become homosexual later in life. It was introduced by Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R) who claimed that children in Massachusetts -- the first state to legalize SSM -- were being taught about same-sex marriage in school.
To instruct the State Department of Education to "continue the annual and separate acknowledgement of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in public elementary and secondary schools in the state independent of any provisions of this act." He wanted to prohibit the possibility of Maryland schools changing the names of these days to "Family Day" as he alleges is being done in the District of Columbia. 3
To broadened the religious protections in the bill to allow individuals, businesses, non-religious groups, etc., who are providing marriage services to the public, to discriminate against lesbians, gays and bisexuals with impunity. This would have included jewelers, wedding photographers, wedding planners, etc. As the bill now stands, both religious groups and non-profit groups sponsored by a religious group would be able to refuse services to same-sex couple -- as long as they don't receive federal funding -- and be immune from human rights charges. Thus, for example:
Priests, ministers, pastors and other clergy persons can refuse to marry a same-sex couple.
The Knights of Columbus are free to refuse to rent their meeting hall to a same-sex couple for a wedding reception.
A pre-marital counseling course service could reject same-sex couples as clients. 4
Although this bill gives full protection for religious groups who wish to continue to discriminate against the LGBT community, there seems to be essentially no discussion on the damage that is occurring to these same faith groups by their policies on human sexuality and science. Teens and young adults are leaving churches in droves, partly because of the latter's policies on the LGBT community, on human sexuality generally, and on the theory of evolution and other findings of science. Large percentages of teens and young adults now count lesbians, gays, and bisexuals among their friends, respect them, and favor marriage equality. The exodus of young adults is expected to continue and perhaps even accelerate.
Senator Jamie Raskin (D), who supports the bill, said: "Any effort to amend the bill at this point is an effort to kill the bill."
Gov. O’Malley posted a tweet:
"We all want the same thing for our kids -- for them to live in loving, committed & stable homes protected equally under the law." 5
Actually, he may well be wrong. The vast majority of religious and social conservatives don't want the next generation to have the option of entering into a SSM.
The Senate had passed a similar bill late in 2001, by a vote of 25 to 21. On the evening of 2012-FEB-23, as widely expected, senators passed the bill again by a similar margin: 25 to 22. Twenty-four affirmative votes were required to pass it. One Republican and 25 Democrats voted "yes;" 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats voted "no." 6,7