The Maryland Senate heard testimony today about its marriage equality bill. Here is an excerpt, and some tweets (which have been using the tag #MarryLand) reporting on the testimony:
I am gay. Under the present law, I am considered less of a citizen and less deserving of government’s legal recognition. I cannot access the same civil right that an incarcerated felon can benefit from.
This moving testimony, and much more like it, was provided by Chrysovalantis Kefalas, an aide to former Republican Governor Bob Erlich of Maryland.
Here's a bit more:
Because of the stigmatization fostered and unequal treatment imposed, in part, by state law, and adjoining prejudices, stereotypes, and consequences of this reality, I endured a struggle for and of my life. Rendered essentially illegitimate by law, all that mattered to me and all that defined me, including relationships with the people I most admire and love, were (and in some cases remain) at risk.
A woman said marriage is like an orange...
"Nothing in this bill will keep me from loving my wife."
This witness turns around, tells crowd that God didn't make gay ppl, then says there's going to be a snowstorm in June. Huh?
It is because of my deep Christian faith that I urge you to support this bill.(Rev from Unity Church Baltimore)
Aaannd we just heard our first bestiality reference - horses.
Purple Heart recipient from Operation Restore Hope: "We chose #Marryland...because it believes in equal rights."
Young girl and daughter of two moms: "I just don't understand why people don't want my moms to get married."
Same witness: "I put felons in jail [and they can marry]...why am I denied the same right?"
Marriage equality opponents brought a vanload of Catholic school girls
Dir of Soc Svcs w/20 yrs experience with vulnerable fams: "Family is the basic social unit...it makes us better at being human."
Peter Sprigg states "reams of social data confirm that #marriage #equality harms children. We didn't see any.
Uh, that would be all the data presented at the Prop 8 trial in support of that thesis, right? All zero lines of it?
And so it goes. 190 witnesses heard or to be heard, six hours so far of testimony. On one side religious bigots, bestiality references, homophobes, liars and marriage/orange equivalence advocates. On the other, people who simply want to be respected, to have the love of their life recognized by society, and to form a family like the rest of America.
How will it turn out?
The Maryland Senate will vote any day now on the bill. Of 47 Senators, 20 support the bill, including 1 Republican. 1 Senator will vote for the bill if she is assured it will pass, and at least 5 others are undecided.
The Maryland Senate has a filibuster, which would entail having 29 votes to overcome. However, this tweet from MarylandEquality
Taking a break from this hit parade - thank you Sen Pres Miller for your commitment to an up/down vote
suggests that the 35 Democrats, regardless of their opinions about the bill, will not let a filibuster stand. Good for them if true.
Should the bill pass the Senate, pass the House and become law, it does not mean that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry. No, that would be too easy. Like Maine, Maryland has a provision in their constitution by which the people can vote on enacted laws if a group is able to gather a sufficient number of signatures within a limited time period. Expect those signatures to be gathered and expect a long, costly ballot initiative fight.
This upcoming vote in the Senate, should it succeed, is only the first step on a long road towards equality in Marryland.