Thursday, March 01, 2012

Maryland governor signs same-sex marriage bill in well-attended event at State House in Annapolis


Today, at about 5:05 PM EST, Maryland’s governor Martin O’Malley walked down a staircase at the Maryland State House into a broad lobby filled with several hundred people, including heavy press, and gave a brief address, here:


And continued here.

He said that American notions of equality must be carried out with respect to freedom of conscience. 

He then, after a few seconds, announced, “The bill is signed”.

No protests or demonstrations (on either side) were evident outside the State House, and security stopped at least one person from bringing a placard into the building.

I had a conversation with an NBC4 Washington reporter outside before going inside.  I actually could hear cheers from inside the building before I entered at around 4:45 PM.  (I used to work for NBC in NYC in the 1970s.) 

Same-sex marriage can go into effect in Maryland after the 2012 election (On Jan. 1, 2013), unless opponents stage a referendum (they need 55736 signatures) and the referendum to oppose gay marriage passes.

O’Malley’s carefully chosen words seemed to strike a balance with his own apparently Catholic background, and seemed to sound like an answer to arguments against same-sex marriage and equal rights recently advanced by GOP candidate Rick Santorum.  In 2004, Santorum tried to advance a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage for all states (as one man and one woman).  In his book (which I have just started) he argues that modern political theories on liberty and equality send a message to younger adults that they don’t need to take the risk of marrying and having children.  It seems that he believes you have to restrain liberty from some people so everyone would feel “incentivized”.   

The Maryland state capital is Annapolis, the same city that hosts the US Naval Academy, where Midshipman Joseph Steffan was removed just before graduating near the top of his class in 1987 for admitting he was gay. It's been a long haul. 

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