Md. House Panels Hear Gay Marriage Arguments

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– A marathon debate over the state’s same-sex marriage bill goes late into the night. Things get heated for opponents and supporters during a House of Delegates hearing in Annapolis.

Meghan McCorkell was there as both sides pleaded their case.

There was emotional testimony from both sides during the House hearing that started Friday afternoon and stretched well into the night.

There was a volley of opinions in Annapolis over same-sex marriage.

“I am not an equal citizen in my home state of Maryland.”

“I’m gay and I’m opposed to this legislation.”

“The best dad I ever had is a woman.”

In front of a packed house, Governor Martin O’Malley implores delegates to vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

“It is not right or just that the children of gay couples should have less protections under the law than the children of other families in our state,” he said.

Opponents disagree and are pushing for a constitutional amendment to support traditional marriage.

“The law is that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Del. Emmett Burns (D-Baltimore County) said.

“To redefine marriage is to risk destroying the basic cell upon which a stable society was built,” Julia Vitmar, who opposes same-sex marriage, said.

One notable opponent was 14-year-old Sarah Crank.

“If it’s legalized, more people would feel like it’s OK and deprive more kids of having a mom and a dad,” she said.

Crank’s father says his daughter received death threats just last week after testifying in front of a Senate Committee.

For supporters, this is a very personal fight.

“I’m fighting for my relationship. I don’t know how many of you had to stand before a tribunal of your peers to declare that your relationship is worthy of recognition,” Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County) said.

Emotions evident as one of the most contentious bills hangs in the balance.

It is a handful of undecided members who will decide the vote. The House needs 71 votes in favor of the bill for it to pass.

A similar bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed in the Senate last year but fell short in the House of Delegates.

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  • true

    How about we call it partnership union an give you the same benefits as a M and f marriage. Would that be ok or do you still need the word marriage?

    • RTB

      No, that would not be OK. Separate is never actually equal. If it’s just about the name, then why are we even having a debate. People should be free to have their relationships called whatever they like. It’s no one else’s business. The idea that recognizing gay marriages would someone impact what heterosexuals do isn’t just idiot. It defies logic.

  • oh for heavens sake

    how about you take care of your family values and we’ll take care of ours. How about we just call all civil unions “civil unions” under the law and if you want to cal lit marriage in your church and ignore mine, fine. we won’t consider you married, either. this is the dumbest argument I have ever heard out of people calling themselves “grown ups”. how rediculous can human beings get???

  • true

    O F H S So it is about the word marriage and not rights You called it

  • Jessica Ward

    For me it’s about everything, the rights and protections under the law, the word marriage and being EQUAL. EVERYONE deserves equal rights and protections. This country was founded on Religious Freedom and the Seperation of Church and State so I dont know why everyone wants to bring personal religious beliefs into the debate. The only reason it would be called anything other than MARRIAGE is because perhaps that word makes you feel umcomfotable, but that word is EQUAL. Marriage is Marriage it does not matter it is between a man & woman, woman & woman, or man & man.

  • Brian

    Marriage is a union between one male and one female. It has been since the begining of time. Why does todays society seem to think they have a right to change this.
    I have no problem with people of the same sex living with eachother but they have no right to marriage

    • Anne

      Actually, that is a relatively new concept in the grand scheme of things. Marriages in the 11th century were still often to multiple wives.

      You seem to be confusing the term Holy Matrimony, which is a Christian concept, with marriage. Marriage’s have been practiced by thousands of cultures and not all of them christian. Imposing the belief system of one religion on others goes against the fundamental basis for our constitution. Equal protection under the law. There is no stipulation as to faith, color, sex or otherwise. Equal means just that, equal.

    • Rekimi

      Is extra marital affairs part of one man and one woman/ one male and one female? As well as love child being born while married to one woman or one man and fooling around with someone outside of the marriage?

  • maryland resident

    is MOM and the a group of the legislature actually closet queens trying to come out??? is this why he is pushing this so hard

    • big tom

      you would almost think so by the actions they take

  • popopo

    It is all about taking the word marriage and what it has meant and change it for these special people. Why should it change now?

    • oh for heavens sake

      A very wise Puritan clergyman called Roger Williams wrote that forced worship “stinks in God’s nostrils” and that you cannot legislate religion or philosophy because it leads inevitably to hypocrisy. This is precisely the position in which your “conservative” leaders now sit. From one side of their collective mouth, they are outraged over the government’s meddling in Church politics (I.e., the birth control issue), calling it a “war on religion”, and from the other side they are attempting to force the government into legislating who can be married based on their own RELIGIOUS values. Hypocrisy. Pure and simple.

      …and something else that the new religious right seems to have forgotten: “Religion” and “Christianity” are not synonymous and anyone of a faith other than Christianity should be very concerned about the possibility that Christian Values could very well become Christian Mandates.

      By the way, Marriage is not a 3000 year old Christian tradition. Christians didn’t start getting officially married until the 1500’s (or using the word “marriage” until 1545), and even then, most marriages were arranged for profit (money, position, politics) and the Church was the force that came up with as many ways to nullify marriage as it possibly could. Ironic, right? Well, that’s because women were paid (now, “supported”) for exclusive rights to their “privates”, thus ensuring that Joe Schmo’s progeny were really his own…or at least FOR his own. Now, the history if marriage is a complex and often ugly one until the 1800’s or so…. now we’re only , what, 200 years or so ago, when POLYGAMY was frowned upon. AHA! So, the “3000 years of history” includes a lot of polygamy? Indeed. So, now, let’s get to the nitty gritty…. should the government have any say at all in who marries who? Or should the laws regarding marriage only protect those who are incapable of making informed and clear decisions for themselves?

  • Linguist

    Well, with respect, my partner and I were married– in a religious ceremony, by a mainstream rabbi, in a mainstream Jewish temple.

    So we shouldn’t call it a “marriage”, why, exactly?

  • johnnie reb

    so they approve of that in the Jewish faith? thought that one of those forbidden things like eating pork, and celebrating Christmas,

  • Linguist

    One important principle running throughout Judaism’s history is “tikkun olam” (repairing a world (that is broken)). This is usually turned into what we call “social justice” movements, and that includes the civil rights movement and, most recently, treating gay people equitably.

    This is particularly true of the largest branch of American Judaism (Reform), but is also supported increasingly by the second largest branch (Conservative Judaism).

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