The Corner

Marriage in Maryland

Maggie Gallagher has been making and watching a fascinating debate in Maryland, as state delegates hear from their constituents and (subsequently) proponents of a gay-marriage bill there realize they don’t have the votes. 

There is bad news for gay-marriage advocates in Rhode Island, too. As we linked to earlier in the week, Maggie writes

Take the battle for gay marriage in two deep blue states: Maryland and Rhode Island.

Getting a gay marriage bill through the Rhode Island House of Representatives with Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s support and a new openly gay House speaker was supposed to be a cakewalk. Instead, as The Boston Phoenix (an alternative paper) reports: “The end game is proving trickier than advocates had hoped. … They’ve been caught off guard by the prowess of the church, which has joined with the nation’s leading anti-gay marriage group to mount a surprisingly potent defense of the status quo.” (By “anti-gay group” they mean the National Organization for Marriage, which I chair). Speaker Gordon Fox suddenly pulled the bill, and its future is now uncertain.

Similarly, this week in Maryland, black Democrats from progressive districts are beginning to jump ship. First Melvin Stukes, a co-sponsor of a gay marriage bill in that state’s House of Delegates, unexpectedly announced he was switching sides.

A few days later, two black Democrats counted as “yes” votes suddenly went missing, refusing to show up for a committee vote, which had to be postponed.

Maryland is a deep blue state — core Democratic territory — but opposition to gay marriage is also surging:

“With opponents, including the Maryland Catholic Conference and the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage, applying enormous pressure on wavering delegates, (Maryland state Sen. Richard) Madaleno and Equality Maryland officials said support in the House might be in jeopardy,” reports theWashington Blade.

Leadership may yet ram through a bill, and the people of Maryland, like the people of Maine did in 2009, will have to exercise their “people’s veto” through the referendum process.

But the really big newsworthy event in these blue states is the surging, unexpected opposition to gay marriage from the public at large, from the Catholic church, and most significantly, from the black church.

Some in the media may have celebrated prematurely . . .

There is more at the National Organization for Marriage blog. We previewed these fights with Maggie recently here.

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