Bil Browning

Maryland Senate Passes Marriage Equality Bill

Filed By Bil Browning | February 25, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: marriage equality, Maryland, Rob Garagoila, same-sex marriage

Yesterday afternoon the Maryland Senate passed a marriage equality bill which now goes on to the House of Delegates for approval. The bill's fate in the House isn't as certain as it was in the Senate. One sponsor has dropped out and now opposes the bill.

maryland-county-map.gifSenator Rob Garagiola (D-15), a lead sponsor of the legislation, said afterwards, "This is a historic and proud moment in Maryland's history. The advocates for this legislation have worked tirelessly to this point and will continue to push through the final stages of this movement. I am honored to be a part of this effort and am confident that the Free State will realize full marriage equality in 2011."

Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he will sign the legislation if it hits his desk.

Combined with Hawaii's new civil unions law, the Department of Justice's recent announcement that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein's statement that she would introduce legislation to repeal DOMA entirely, it's been a damn good week for marriage equality.

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It has been a damn good week. Right now, I'm on Twitter with hashtag #marryland RT live tweets from the committee hearing. I encourage Bilerico readers to join the fun. It's been an exciting ride that is still going. Also, readers can follow tweets from @equalitymd to know what's unfolding.

And now we shall see if the GLB community in Maryland is actually going to provide any real support for the trans rights bill which is currently in the legislature, having already jumped the line by advancing the marriage bill first.

I'd rather they didn't.

HB235 is literally worse than no bill at all, as it legitimises the exclusion from public accommodations of trans people. It specifically cuts them out as being unworthy compared to gays.

Moreover, there's another bill in play - one which would increase the strength of public accommodations protection for others, making the disparity even worse.

EQ Maryland has been telling the sponsor of the bill that all is well, that Trans people are all OK with it, and it's come as a shock to her the level and anger shown by Trans people at this situation.

She has threatened to withdraw the bill, not realising that this is what is wanted. It is not some orchestrated campaign to add an extra cherry on top of a pretty good cake, rather, to get rid of something really toxic from the table. If amended to omit the specific trans exclusion, and return it to its 2009 form, it would be wonderful: but it looks like a deal has been struck by the sponsor not to do that in return for support on gay marriage, and so that cannot happen.

A trans rights bill HB 235 written by Equality Maryland that is a worthless piece of paper because it doesn't have public accommodations language in it.

But you can bet your last dollar the GLB only one Free State Injustice had transpeople cut out of in 2001 does.

Moni - it is pretty clear that Cathy Brennan, Shannon Avery, and Liz Seaton used sketchy legal precedent and told blatant lies to convince the legislature and trans people that we were totally protected under existing laws - omitting that the same precedents and laws could apply just as easily to GLB protections.

These three women used their GLB-only victory to get positions within law firms, a judicial bench, and work at national organizations. While these three are making salaries that most activists can only dream of - trans women in MD have a 71% unemployment rate.

You started to write a post on this, Monica, but never finished it. No one else picked it up since you'd staked it first. Finish the post so all our readers know what's going on? Please?

Bil - it's pretty bad. There's both well-meaning people involved doing awful things out of ignorance, and genuinely transphobic treachery there too. It's difficult picking the two apart in the interests of justice and fairness, but the effects are indistinguishable anyway.

TL:DR version;
There was some really dirty work done in 2001, as they now admit. We're getting a replay.

Great news for my 6yr home state MD. Traveling and living in all of these 50 US states, knowing the people, loving my relationships w/friends there... I couldn't be happier for them.

One State at a time is a victory for all of us.

I don't personally have to "win" where I live today, to enjoy the potential victory of others.