Thursday, February 23, 2012

Maryland passes marriage equality bill!!

A year after a heartbreaking session in the Maryland legislature in which a bill pushing marriage equality couldn't even get a vote, same-sex couples' right to marry have been vindicated.

The Maryland Senate passed a marriage equality bill by a vote of 25-22. This vote comes on the heels of the Maryland House of Delegates passing the bill. Governor Martin O'Malley is expected to sign it.

However, just like in the case of Washington state, which also passed a marriage equality bill this year, folks are expecting a referendum on the bill.

Last year, the National Organization for Marriage - the group leading the charge against the bill in Maryland - was able to exploit divisions in the black and gay communities in order to keep the bill from coming up for a vote in Maryland's House of Delegates.

My guess is that NOM will be committing that same ugly tactic to garner votes for the referendum.

So while the fight has just begun for marriage equality in Maryland, those who fought for this day should celebrate fully.

More details from the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News are as follows:

 . . . opponents tried to tack on a number of "poison pill" amendments to the bill, but failed on all counts.

The most egregious example was by Sen. David Brinkley. The Republican senator slowly read a lengthy letter in support of an amendment to the bill, droning on and on, spouting faulty science, lies, half-truths and alleged incidents of discrimination against people of faith who oppose the rights of LGBT Americans. He claimed marriage equality would compromise religious freedom in Maryland; nevermind that the bill offers protection from that.

Several senators interrupted Brinkley, asking if he were on point, and Senate President Mike Miller eventually urged Brinkley to "speed read" the rest of the letter, provoking laughter in the chamber.

Witnesses in the chamber tweeted that some members of the gallery, weary of the long interruption by Brinkley, began giving each other massages. One senator shared a box of chocolates with other colleagues, most of whom seemed disinterested in Brinkley's brinkmanship.

The amendment that Brinkley supported was overwhelmingly rejected, 34-11.

Sen. Allan Kittleman, a Republican, stood up and explained his vote for marriage equality. He called it the "civil rights issue of our generation."

Sen. Dolores Kelley, a Democrat, gave a wonderful speech rebutting the argument that marriage is for procreation. She humorously asked if those too old to procreate will have to give up their marriages, under that argument.

Sen. Rob Garagiola said the bill would outlaw state-sanctioned discrimination against gay and lesbian families, calling it a civil rights issue.

The openly gay Sen. Rich Madaleno gave a heart-felt speech on making history in Maryland, and he wished his husband, Mark, who was caught up in traffic, were there in the Senate chamber. The couple have two children.

The Senate's public galleries were packed for the historic vote, and marriage-equality supporters erupted into sustained applause and cheers when the bill passed.

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'Ex-gay group sued for defamation' and other Thursday midday news briefs

NJ Governor Chris Christie went on Morning Joe to defend his decision to veto his state's marriage equality law which was just passed by the legislature. He tried to turn his appearance into an attack on President Obama but was taken down a peg by openly gay journalist Jonathan Capehart. See Think Progress for more details about the exchange.

In other news:

Truth Wins Out Files Defamation Lawsuit Against ‘Ex-Gay’ Organization PFOX - This is going to be GOOD. Go get 'em Truth Wins Out!

Santorum opposes civil unions for same-sex couples - Damn, Rick! Would you at least let us have cheese on a Whooper?

Liberian First Lady Jewel Taylor Submits Bill to Make Homosexuality a Felony with 10-Year Prison Term - Well isn't she a sweetheart.

Maryland’s Baltimore County Council Passes Gender Identity and Expression Anti-discrimination Protections - Way to go, Baltimore County!

Pastor Accuses Google, Starbucks and Amazon of 'Doing the Devil's Work' by Supporting Marriage Equality - Okay who told him? Can't anybody in the lgbtq community stop telling our secrets?

Third Suspect Arrested in Brutal Videotaped Atlanta Gay Bashing - Good. Put that SOB under the jail!

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Powerful documentary sheds light on bullying

I just saw the following trailer courtesy of Towleroad and my God, I am speechless.

There are no words to convey how powerful this documentary is:

"Bully" will be out in limited release on March 30. For more information, go to the official website.

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