Maryland’s equal marriage bill does NOT pass

Timothy Kincaid

March 11th, 2011

In a legislative body with 98 Democrats and 43 Republicans, in a state that already recognizes same-sex marriages conducted next door, supporters of the Maryland marriage equality bill were unable to round up 71 votes. (WaPo)

The effort to legalize gay marriage in Maryland died for the year Friday after supporters said they could not find enough votes to pass the measure in the House.

House leaders avoided a final vote on the bill and returned it to the House Judiciary Committee after it became apparent they did not have the 71 votes needed for approval. The bill to make Maryland the sixth state to allow gay marriage had already passed the Senate, and the governor said he would have signed it.

Lindoro Almaviva

March 11th, 2011

Imagine that… When they need money they are all about marriage equality, the moment their asses are firmly stuck to those senate and representative seats, their marriage equality determination seems to flounder.

I wonder whether the millions promised by a certain lady had influence on them.

I also wonder what will happen when her millions do not show up and the GAY-TM reads “not enough funds”…


March 11th, 2011

I wonder…Pardon me for wondering, but I do wonder how much of a setback this really is, or even if it is one at all.

If I understand correctly, had this passed it would not have taken effect until after the 2012 election (and possibly not even then.) The Governor would have signed it, NOM would pass around petitions, and then it would just sit there with a year and a half campaign to fight.

If, again, I understand this rightly, the measure could still be passed next year, and would still put it on the same 2012 ballot. Alternately, by that time it would have taken effect or shortly afterwards, any of several court cases could solve the problem without the Maryland legislature’s help.

The biggest thing lost, then, is knowing for certain which legislators to pester :)


March 11th, 2011

I realize this defeat is bitter b/c it is surprising. But I think that this is a blessing in disguise. For a variety of reasons, I am confident that we would have lost the referendum. So a win today most likely would have meant no SSM through 2012 while the referendum was pending, followed by a likely defeat in the referendum.

A referendum defeat would have been really damaging to SSM nationally. In contrast, losing in the MD House by a few votes after having won in the Senate will have no impact on RI or NY or anywhere else. The MD groups can use this time to improve the poll numbers, develop a real strategy to win the referendum fight, and sweep out the Dems who betrayed them. If they do all of that, they can come back in 2013, win a solid vote in both houses, and then perhaps have a decent chance at winning the referendum.

It is worth noting that while SSM squeaked through the Senate and narrowly died in the House, a civil unions law would have passed w/ large majorities in both houses and quite possibly would not have resulted in any referendum effort. It would have been useful to have CUs pass today, since CUs accelerate support for SSM, and thus would boost the chance for a win in 2013.

Timothy Kincaid

March 11th, 2011


You and Hyhybt make good points about the 2012 ballot (though I don’t exactly share the ‘not yet’ approach to marriage).

However, on civil unions we have to consider that Maryland is unlike other states that have started with civil unions or domestic partnerships. Currently, same-sex marriage is recognized in Maryland, provided that it is conducted elsewhere – like right next door in Washington, DC.

So gay folks are not likely to opt for a civil union when they can have marriage, with location of ceremony being the only obstacle.

Thus the ‘get used to civil unions first’ strategy, while usually a practical approach, would have little to no value in this state.


March 11th, 2011

You are basically saying that recognition of out-of-state marriages coupled with full marriage rights in a neighboring state serve the same catalytic function as CUs.

That’s a very interesting point. You could very well be right. However, I would want to see some real polling data on that before I agreed. The only other place where these conditions exist is NY, which borders CT, MA, and NH. Support for SSM has trended up in recent NY polls and since 2009, lending support for your theory.


March 11th, 2011

Off-topic question:

Why is an ad for Michele Bachmann and “Defend Traditional Marriage” on this webpage?

The ad says “Stand with Michele Bachmann to Defend Traditional Marriage: Sign the Petition (Paid for by Bachmann for Congress)” with a click-through to What’s going on?


March 11th, 2011

uhm i couldn’t find an email for the people who run the box turtle bulletin but you all should know that on this webpage right now is a paid for by Bachmann for Congress ad and poll calling people to stand with Bachmann in defending traditional marriage.


March 11th, 2011

Oh my god people! They have explained this before. They do not select the ads, a company basically pulls words from the site and ads that match are put there by an ad company. If you click on it, the site gets a few cents. Honestly, its not remotely new in terms of internet ads. They have little control. When they posted about scientology, they got a ton of those ads too.


March 11th, 2011

It’s actually good that those ads go here in this site. That means said ads are being wasted on an audience that will rejected rather than one that will be swayed by them.

On topic, though, deeply disappointed but not surprised. This magical popular support for gay people is just a pipedream and just like the racists and the sexist pigs court rulings will need to set the hard fist of the law to forcefeed the idea that they don’t get to discriminate against people they dislike.


March 11th, 2011

So, they didn’t take a vote on it? Cowards. Is there any way to find out which Delegates killed this? Because I think there are probably a few who are claiming to be on our side in public, then won’t commit to equality when we can’t tell what they’re doing. With 98 Democratic seats, there’s got to be a few safe seats to target in the primaries. And the electorate in 2012 is likely to be a good bit better demographically than it was in 2010.


March 11th, 2011

Oh my god @Andrew! Thanks for the explanation (and the histrionics).


March 11th, 2011

Timothy Kinkaid: I don’t like the ‘not yet’ approach either… but as my state wouldn’t even consider such a bill, and probably, if left to itself, won’t for another ten years… well, Marylanders’ having to wait *one* more year, when the law would take effect at the same time anyway, doesn’t seem so bad :)

Jeremy: having read more, one *legitimate* reason for not voting is that the bill is still alive for next year. It won’t have to start over, and it will be easier for legislators to change their minds (a good thing, when the current count is against you) if they’re not on record already as voting the other way.

Mark H.

March 12th, 2011

Even more offensive, now the ads are showing a lady in sexy lingerie. Do we need any further proof of the lesbian bias in BTB’s coverage?

Rob in San Diego

March 12th, 2011

I thought we had this one in the bag? I thought we had all the votes, What happened?


March 12th, 2011

So much for the ‘powerful homosexual lobby’. If we needed more ammunition for the DOMA case, they just gave it to us.

Other Fred in the UK

March 12th, 2011

it will be easier for legislators to change their minds (a good thing, when the current count is against you) if they’re not on record already as voting the other way

In principle, I disapprove of a legislative wheeze like this and think there should have been a vote to expose those Democrats who only claim to believe in equality (and to force the hand of any Republicans who know the logical conclusion of their principles will be unpopular). However, in practice, Hyhybt has a very good point, how many opponents could be realistically replaced by allies at the next election?


March 12th, 2011

This has nothing to do with the next election, though: they have next year’s session first, and it’s there that this can be pulled back up and put through a vote without bothering the senate again or having to get people to vote differently than they already have.

That’s when we need a vote to see who to re-elect.

Other Fred in the UK

March 12th, 2011

I am sorry I have yet to find anything related to politicians that has ‘nothing to do with the next election’.

I am not sure why the analysis should be that different during next year’s session, assuming the bill still does not have enough support to pass. Unless enough incumbents can be unseated is it actually in gay Marylanders’ best interests to force politicians to, in effect, publicly state they are against marriage equality?


March 13th, 2011

@Theo – your observation is probably tactically correct. However, your assumption that our opponents will let us choose the time of referendum may not be. Accordingly, it’s still my view that our side should put up a referendum. If I had good wording for one, I’d put it up. It might be something like, “no official shall declare a civil marriage contract or enactment of civil marriage law to be exclusively his or her particular religious belief.” Not perfect, by a long shot, I know, but I can also think of others: “No new law on civil marriage is permissible if it continues to allow divorce but prohibits gays and lesbians.” more? “No gay or lesbian child shall be denied at law the recognition that they are full citizens”.

I’m sure there are better out there. These are off the top of my head. (Yes, I know referenda are costly).

Helen in Ireland

March 13th, 2011

Re : the ads – Andrew said:
‘Oh my god people! They have explained this before. They do not select the ads, a company basically pulls words from the site and ads that match are put there by an ad company. If you click on it, the site gets a few cents.’

Wait – so, if you click on Michelle Bachmann’s advert, you are actually raising funds for BTB?

*rubs hands in anticipation; smiles gloating smile*

Oh, what delicious irony!!

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