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Maryland House committee update

Timothy Kincaid

March 2nd, 2011

Tiffany Alston – who had, along with Jill Carter, withheld her vote on marriage equality by not attending the committee – had not been as public or blatant in her extortion issues. And, consequently, had not caught the full brunt of the media’s ire.

But surely she saw the writing on the wall from how Carter fared in the public view. Not only did we express our contempt for Carter, but so did some of the mainstream media. (Baltimore Sun Editorial)

Her action reduces a question about fundamental human rights — legislation she co-sponsored — to petty horse trading. What had been ennobling about the debate over this issue so far had been the sincerity of arguments advanced on both sides, but Ms. Carter has chosen to put political expediency ahead of the interests of thousands of Marylanders and her own avowed beliefs, and she is acting as if that is a virtue. She cheapens the honest and difficult decisions her fellow legislators have made.

Even the coverage that did not exactly excoriate Ms. Carter questioned why she signed on to sponsor a bill if she didn’t think it was all that important.

So Alston has now discovered that she is ready to vote and most analysis assumes that she will support the bill. And some reports say that Carter has resolved her concerns.

But meanwhile another supporter discovered to his amazement that the marriage equality bill is about marriage. (Todd Eberly)

In other development, Del. Melvin Stukes of Baltimore withdrew his sponsorship of the bill explaining that he thought the bill only provided for civil unions and not for civil marriage. In the spirit of full disclosure, I know Del. Stukes and have the utmost respect for him, but the text of the bill has always been clear with regard to legalizing civil marriage.

Eberly also speculates on the cause of the derailing:

So what’s happening in the Maryland House? Why are co-sponsors of the bill flaking out? The most likely explanation is that they sponsored the legislation based on the assumption that it would never pass in the Senate and they would never be called upon to cast a vote in favor of it. Now, there is a very real possibility that the bill will become law and these lawmakers were not prepared for the pressure of actually casting a vote.

It is likely more than a coincidence that the three delegates referenced are African American and represent predominantly African-American constituencies. As reported by the Washington Post, African-American churches and religious leaders have emerged as a strong voice of opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage (as have Catholic churches and leaders). No doubt Dels. Stukes, Carter, and Alston have been hearing much of that opposition.

Let’s hope that strong supportive voices rise up in Maryland’s African-American community to counter the anti-gay fervor being whipped up by some in the black churches.

Comments

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Lucrece
March 3rd, 2011 | LINK

Hhahaha, keep waiting, baby; it’s not gonna happen.

Those pastors run the town.

customartist
March 3rd, 2011 | LINK

We need Melvin Stukes’ email so that we can let him know that his name is on the Gay Calendar for removal.

customartist
March 3rd, 2011 | LINK

Here ya go:

Tell Del. Melvin Stukes to Support Civil Marriage Equality, and that we will remember him at election time!

melvin.stukes@house.state.md.us

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