Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Please take action!

This past weekend, we heard the pulpit announcement from the Archdiocese of Washington which urged us to get involved with two bills that undermine marriage in Maryland. We heard the call to contact Gov. Martin O’Malley and ask him to veto these bills. We can do this by calling 410-974-3901 or by sending an email through the Maryland Catholic Conference. In order to send an email, please click on today’s title. The email has already been written and can be read below. Please take action!

Two bills that undermine the institution of marriage by granting marriage equivalency to unmarried couples in the health and tax statutes could become law as soon as May 13 unless they are vetoed by Gov. Martin O'Malley. Contact the governor today by clicking the "Take Action" link and ask him to veto SB 566 and SB 597.

SB 566 and SB 597, while well intentioned, are seriously problematic. Under the bills, any two people - same-sex, or of opposite sexes - can gain state recognition as domestic partners if they jointly rent a car, jointly rent an apartment, and sign an affidavit that they are in an "interdependent" relationship. There is no requirement that the affidavit be filed with any agency, or even notarized. Domestic partnerships can be dissolved merely by signing another affidavit. SB 566 and SB 597 allow those domestic partnerships to be treated the same as marriages in parts of the health and tax statutes.

SB 566 grants medical decision-making rights to domestic partners. However, those benefits are already available to ALL couples in Maryland through advance directives and powers of attorney. SB 597 exempts domestic partners and former domestic partners from recordation and transfer taxes.

Please contact Gov. O'Malley immediately and urge him to uphold marriage in Maryland. Ask him to veto SB 566 and SB 597 by clicking the "Take Action" link immediately.
It may be helpful for the governor to receive some printed, hard copies of the message asking him to veto SB 566 and SB 597. If you would like to print and mail your letter, please select the "printed letter" option at the "Take Action" link and send it to: The Honorable Martin O'Malley, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401.


At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be a day late with this information as today is May 14th.

Here are the thoughts posted March 28, 2008 on www.washblade.com (a gay and lesbian website). This was the most recent information I could find on SB 566 and 597. According to Joshua Lynsen, as of March 28, 2008:
Headline states: “Few gay bills advance in Maryland session. State Sen. Muse seen as biggest marriage obstacle.”

The article, of which I deleted some statements because they were not directly related to SB 566 and 597, included the following thoughts:

“But more ambitious proposals that sought to enact civil unions and bar discrimination against transgender people have fizzled this week after they failed to advance before a key deadline passed.

Carrie Evans, policy director at Equality Maryland, said legislators are likely to adjourn April 7 without passing marriage, civil unions or robust domestic partnership rights for same-sex couples.

She said the proposals, which never won crucial committee support from Sen. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s County), are effectively dead.

Barring God coming down to the Senate floor and telling Sen. Muse to vote for it, Evans said, which is, I think, the only thing that would move Sen. Muse at this point.

Muse, who has not responded this session to the Blade’s multiple interview requests, also was blamed for killing efforts to bar discrimination against transgender people.

Evans said the proposal has sufficient support to pass the House, but remains stuck in committee there because House leaders are reluctant to call votes on bills the Senate is unlikely to pass.

She said Muse, who opposes the antidiscrimination bill, would cast a deciding vote in the Senate committee that must review the measure before it saw a floor vote.

We can’t get it to the floor until Muse changes his mind, Evans said.”

According to a March 14, 2008 article on the same website, the Montgomery County members on the Judicial Proceedings Committee do not seem to represent our point of view.

“Among the Judicial Proceedings Committee’s 11 members, four support marriage for same-sex couples, six are against it and one is “non-committal.”

Dan Furmansky, executive director of Equality Maryland, said Sens. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County), Lisa Gladden (D-Baltimore), Jennie Forehand (D-Montgomery County) and Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) support the measure, while Sens. Larry Haines (R-Baltimore and Carroll counties), Nancy Jacobs (R-Cecil and Harford counties), Alex Mooney (R-Frederick and Washington counties), Muse, Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel County) and Norman Stone (D-Baltimore County) oppose it. Furmansky described Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County) as “non-committal.”

Senator Muse may not be Catholic, but as a Christian, it appears that our beliefs are congruent. It sounds as if he has quite a say in this matter. Politics is something I am not well educated in, so my following thought may be inappropriate. In the process of these two Senate bills either moving forward or dying, does Sen. Muse deserve a huge “thank you” from his allies? Should our voice start earlier, before the bills get to the Governor?


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