Friday, April 18, 2008

What happened to marriage in Maryland? - Washington Blade

What happened to marriage in Maryland? - Washington Blade

Gay activists in Maryland had high hopes for this legislative session. Marriage rights seemed, for the first time, within reach. But the session ended last week with only token pro-gay measures approved. Joshua Lynsen talks to the key players to find out what went wrong.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Three months ago, Marty Rouse was hopeful that Maryland lawmakers would extend new rights to same-sex couples.

Rouse, a Maryland resident who works as national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, told the Blade in January that he and his neighbors could win marriage rights, civil unions or domestic partnerships this year.

“I feel very confident that we will be successful in 2008,” he said at the time. “Well, I’ll say cautiously optimistic. I’m sorry. Cautiously optimistic that we will see some kind of relationship recognition in 2008.”

But Rouse’s hopes were dashed after efforts to grant gay Marylanders marriage rights died in committee. Bills to enact civil unions or domestic partnerships were snubbed by activists and failed to gain traction.

In the end, Maryland legislators granted same-sex couples just a few new privileges, such as hospital visitation rights, before they adjourned last week.

Rouse, who lives near Bethesda, Md., said the session’s outcome was “extremely disappointing” to him and other gay Marylanders.

“It proves that we, as a community, have a lot more work to do,” he said last week. “Politically, we’re just not there yet. That’s the reality that we face. We’re not there yet. We do not have enough political power to win what we deserve.” ..............

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