Monday, May 05, 2008

Maryland Gays Not Happy With Governor

While we have been fighting our battles in Montgomery County, others have been working at the state level to get fair treatment for gay and transgender people. We have mostly stayed out of that, there's been enough in our county to keep us occupied, but it's good to see our local situation in the context of the state's movement.

Montgomery County is definitely a Blue place, a liberal, even progressive, county where the people are tolerant and ready to extend freedom to all. We are a little more liberal than the state as a whole, though Maryland in general leans heavily that way. But those who have to make the decisions -- whether these are local school district people or elected officials or whatever -- tend to get jumpy and careful. Even though they know they have popular support, they also know that a small number of squeaky-wheel nuts will begin squealing if it looks like they are giving equal rights to gay and transgender people or whatever it is that sets them off. They start squealing, the Family Blah Blah groups back them up, and they can put considerable pressure on the little local politician or bureaucrat who's just trying to do his or her duty.

We haven't been following the state battles much here on this blog, we've stayed more local than that, but Adam Pagnucco writing at Maryland Politics Watch has a good summary of the sour tone that has set in. He pulled together a lot of threads to explain comprehensively what's going on and where it's headed. I hope they don't mind if I simply copy and paste their whole post here.

The Sun reported yesterday on growing dissatisfaction among gays against Governor O'Malley. But in fact, resentment towards the Governor has been building inside the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community for at least eight months.

Last September, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that state law forbids same-sex marriage. While the Governor did not have a hand in the ruling itself, he released this statement to the Washington Blade:
I look forward to reading the Court's full opinion, but as we move forward, those of us with the responsibility of passing and enforcing laws have an obligation to protect the rights of all individuals equally, without telling any faith how to define its sacraments... I respect the Court's decision.

Gays across the state immediately took this as a betrayal. What did the court's decision on civil marriage have to do with any religion's sacraments? And why did the Governor fail to include a right to marriage as one of the rights that should be protected for "all individuals equally?" The plaintiffs in the marriage lawsuit immediately unveiled emails sent to them by the Governor expressing his support for marriage rights as recently as August 2005. Blade editor and blogger Kevin Naff fumed:
As gay Marylanders were reeling from the high court decision upholding the state's marriage ban -- shedding tears and canceling wedding plans -- the governor released a statement that didn't offer sympathy or condolences. Instead, he said he respected the court's decision -- an opinion unparalleled in its gratuitously offensive language -- and that lawmakers shouldn't tell religions how to define the sacraments.

With that statement, O'Malley kicked us all at a time when we were down and we should not forget it. No more gay money. No more gay votes. No more door-to-door gay support or green bumper stickers or yard signs. After distinguishing himself as a brash young politician of a new generation, he has revealed himself to be a typical climber, so blinded by national ambition that he would break any promise to pad his resume and preserve his power.
Neither marriage nor civil unions passed in the 2008 general session, but bills providing gay partners the right to visit each other in the hospital and limited exemptions from some property taxes did pass. One sticking point was on partnership benefits for state employees. The Governor says the state cannot afford them despite the fact that their cost -- about $3 million per year -- equals approximately 0.02% of the state's general fund. That helped to prompt this comment from one of the state's most prominent gay rights leaders:
"There's just not a lot to be enthusiastic about, because the governor hasn't done much to help us move forward," said Dan Furmansky, director of Equality Maryland, a leading gay rights group. "Why did the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community work so hard to elect this person? What do we have to show for it at this point?"

Make no mistake: marriage equality is inevitable, regardless of O'Malley's calculations and vacillations. Perhaps it will come to pass under Governor Doug Gansler.

Gays vs. the Governor


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Look, AnonFreak, a fight for equal rights that was not left up to "the people".

RIP, Loving.

RICHMOND, Va. -- A black woman from Virginia whose lawsuit helped end bans on interracial marriage has died.

Mildred Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws across the country that prohibited interracial marriages. Such unions had been banned in at least 17 states.

Loving, who was 68, died Friday at her home in rural Milford

The couple married in Washington, D.C., in 1958. She was 18. They were arrested within weeks of returning to their home in Virginia and later convicted of violating the ban.

They avoided a year in jail by moving to D.C., where they began their legal battle. After they won in the high court, they returned to Virginia, where they lived with their three children. Richard Loving died in a 1975 car accident that also injured his wife

May 05, 2008 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
And that people will do the "right" thing is untrue- look at the article about Prince Edward Co. Va and the legacy of racism there. One of the many places that set up a private school so they could continue segregation- the private school stil exists. I can't vouch for this- since I know how poor media fact checking is -but the article said the public high school has separate black and white cheerleading squads today.

May 05, 2008 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know all the leaders of Red China agree with you.

May 05, 2008 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Andrea --

Thanks for keeping up the pressure on the military junta that illegally rules Burma and keeps the democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest.
Laura Bush finally heard you. She publicly supported the people of Burma at her news conference yesterday.

May 06, 2008 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Thanks for keeping up the pressure on the military junta that illegally rules Burma and keeps the democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest."

I thought TTF thinks democracy leads to racism.

May 06, 2008 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you finally, once and for all, GET A LIFE?

May 06, 2008 11:30 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Governor O'Malley: "I look forward to reading the Court's full opinion, but as we move forward, those of us with the responsibility of passing and enforcing laws have an obligation to protect the rights of all individuals equally, without telling any faith how to define its sacraments,” O’Malley said in a statement following a request from the Blade for comment. “I respect the Court's decision."

“I think O’Malley is a friend of the community,” Basile said. “It’s not helpful for him to interject [the sacraments] into the discussion, but I’m confident he supports equality.”
“Not helpful.” Yeah, that’s a polite way of putting it.

Is this man really that politically stupid?

“without telling any faith how to define its sacraments”

Oh horror of horrors, if we allow the gays get married, every “faith” will then be forced to perform gay weddings. Just like if we allow the atheists to get married, every “faith” will then be forced to perform atheist weddings. Not to mention that if we allow one religious sect to get married, every other “faith” will then be forced to perform weddings for them...

Jews knocking down the doors of Catholic cathedrals to get married, Christian supremacists demanding to be married in synagogue...It would be sheer madness I tell ya!
Well, I guess when you put it like that Governor O'Malley, it’s a good thing gays can’t get married.

Oh Govna', but for you, where would Maryland be?
Seriously though, am I being too harsh?

May 06, 2008 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Seriously though, am I being too harsh?"

Don't worry about it. No one pays attention you anyway.

May 08, 2008 1:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home