Maryland Gets Marriage Bill
A group of about 50 activists, couples and legislators stood together in the Joint Hearing Room of Maryland’s Legislative Services Building in Annapolis this morning, Jan. 25, to support marriage equality by introducing a bill that would allow same-sex couples to legally wed in the state.
’’It’s time that we get full marriage equality and that we get it in 2011,’’ Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola (D-Montgomery), who is straight, said after Darrell Carrington, of Equality Maryland’s board of directors, introduced the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.
If passed, the bill, drafted by Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery), the only openly gay member of Maryland’s Senate, and Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery), would allow same-sex couples to engage in civil marriage, while also protecting the rights of religious institutions to handle issues of marriage equality however they see fit. According to Equality Maryland, a House version of the bill will be introduced in the near future.
While Madaleno was not at the event due to committee obligations, and Raskin arrived late, also due to a committee obligation, those who did speak included lesbian Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery).
’’For thousands of GLBT Marylanders a marriage license is worth more than the paper it’s printed on,’’ she told the crowd. ’’While it’s love that makes a family, it’s marriage that protects a family.’’
Organizations that helped present the event in addition to Equality Maryland included: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland, the Human Rights Campaign, the Maryland Black Family Alliance, Catholics for Equality, Pride and Faith, Progressive Maryland and Freedom to Marry.