Supporters of Senate Bill 116, the Civil Marriage Protection Act — Maryland’s same sex marriage bill — have sent the legislation back to the House Judiciary Committee, after holding a three hour debate on the issue this afternoon. “At this time, I’m going to move to have this bill recommitted to the House Judiciary Committee,” Chairman Joseph F. Vallario (D) announced at approximately 2pm, suggesting that the bill had not attracted the necessary 71 votes for passage.
Supporters of the bill framed marriage as a civil rights struggle that would extend equal rights to all Maryland residents, while opponents sought to downgrade the measure to a civil unions bill or put the question up to a popular vote. Below is a compilation of some of the most ridiculous arguments put forward by opponents of marriage equality:
- DEL. RON GEORGE: Homosexuality is a learned behavior:
However, there is much in science supporting the nurture school of thought that this bill seeks to throw away…despite several claims, there has still not been discovered a gay gene, yet the nature school of thought is legitimate. My argument is that the nurture school of though is also legitimate…This is not claiming that gay people made a conscience choice. The nurture argument makes no such claim. Certainly in the study of sexual disorders, much is found to be a learned behavior, from the predator to rapist, to the many with a pornography addictions to even the standard monogamous relationships, more and more is being discovered. [...] Therefore, I believe this bill goes too far because the nurturing of our young to trust male and female brains and how they compliment each other in the raising of our young is a valid point and must not be erased. This bill goes too far for this reason.
- DEL. STEVEN SCHUH: Gay relationships “don’t benefit society broadly” and “don’t warrant subsidization.”
Those relationships may benefit the people involved in them but they don’t benefit society broadly and therefore, in my view, they don’t warrant subsidization by the state. In my view, same-sex couples should not be give the right to marry under Maryland law because same-sex relationships are wholly private matters that are none of the state’s business and do not warrant state subsidies.
- DEL. JAY WALKER: Gays and lesbians already have enough rights.
I cannot fathom a day when I will be told which water fountain I can use, but at the same time, the gay and lesbian community has so many more things that they can participate in that African Americans and immigrants couldn’t. I’m always going to be a black man as long as I live. Women have the right to vote. The gay and lesbian community has the right to vote, they’ve always had that. So realizing what I’ve said there…..but my foundation, my beliefs, the people who have always backed me…have asked for us not to vote for this bill and I’m going to respect their wish.
In a press release following the session, Equality Maryland described the decision to send the bill back to committee as “a strategic step that will allow us to fight and win in the future.” “Equality Maryland is more committed than ever to this fight. We will redouble our efforts to ensure that our voices are heard. We know our cause is just,” the group said. Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has promised to sign the measure, also committed to seeing it pass. “As One Maryland we must work together to respect the dignity of every individual. I remain committed to working with all Marylanders to ensure that rights are protected for equally for everyone,” he said in a statement.