The Washington Post reports today that two members of the Maryland House Judiciary Committee unexpectedly pulled their support for the bill that would redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. The article reports that one delegate is withholding support in order to gain more school aid for her district, and the other delegate needs “more time to ‘think and pray’ about what she considers a ‘deeply personal issue for myself and my constituents.’”
I had the privilege of testifying last Friday at the hearing the Maryland House Judiciary Committee held on this bill. I opposed the bill because it would increase the number of “conflicts of conscience” between state antidiscrimination laws and those people who believe that marriage is defined only as one man and one woman. I talked about Jen Keeton in Georgia and Julea Ward in Michigan who have been kicked out of their graduate school programs in counseling because they believe homosexual behavior is immoral. I talked about Elane Photography in New Mexico which has been sued for declining to photograph a same-sex ceremony (and New Mexico does not recognize same-sex “marriage”).
From the people I talked to in Annapolis last Friday, I expected the House committee to pass the bill at a second hearing held yesterday (Tuesday), with the full House approving it soon after. The people of Maryland would then exercise their option under the state Constitution to gather signatures and subject the bill to a referendum vote by the people in November 2012, and the bill would lose as it did in Maine.
However, I was surprised by this unexpected and welcomed development in favor of marriage. The actions by the two delegates in the Maryland House have definitely slowed down the marriage redefinition bill. We will wait and see if their actions further stall the bill’s movement through the Maryland Legislature.