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Maryland Passes Marriage Equality — Responses And Reactions

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Just moments ago, the Maryland Senate passed Governor O’Malley’s same-sex marriage bill, one week after the House passed an identical bill. Governor O’Malley is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

Here are some responses and reactions to the historic news.

HRC

More Momentum in Maryland: Senate Passes Civil Marriage Equality Bill

But marriage not yet a reality; voter referendum expected

Washington – On the heels of the historic House of Delegates vote last week, the Maryland Senate today approved marriage equality legislation introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley (D) that would allow committed gay and lesbian couples to marry. With the bill successfully passing through the state legislature, Governor O’Malley is expected to sign it.

“We could not be more grateful to the senators who today voted to make all Maryland families stronger,” said Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Today, we took another giant step toward marriage equality becoming law – and we are in this position due to the unwavering leadership and resolve of Governor O’Malley and our legislative allies, particularly Sens. Rich Madaleno, Jamie Raskin, Rob Garagiola, and Brian Frosh.”

The Civil Marriage Protection Act allows committed gay and lesbian couples to obtain a marriage license while providing religious exemptions for churches and other religious institutions. Clergy, for example, do not have to perform any marriage they do not agree with.

Virtually any piece of legislation, according to Maryland law, can be subject to a referendum where voters cast a ballot supporting or opposing the legislation. Opponents of marriage equality are expected to begin obtaining the requisite signatures necessary to refer the Civil Marriage Protection Act to the general election ballot.

“There remains a lot of work to do between now and November to make marriage equality a reality in Maryland,” added Solmonese. “Along with coalition partners, we look forward to educating and engaging voters about what this bill does: It strengthens all Maryland families and protects religious liberty.”

A January poll by the Washington Post indicated a majority of Marylanders support marriage equality.

Catholics For Equality

Catholics Applaud Senate Passage of Marriage Equality in Maryland
Group Says Today’s Victory Would Not Have Been Possible Without Pro-Equality Catholic Leadership”

ANNAPOLIS – Catholics for Equality, the country’s largest national political organization of Catholics who put their faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families, representing the views of over 75 million American Catholics, released the following statement today in response to today’s passage by the Maryland State Senate of Senate Bill 116, extending civil marriage equality to citizens in their state.

Catholics for Equality applauds the Maryland State Senate for passing marriage equality legislation today by a margin of 25-22.

We especially applaud the leadership and determination of our Catholic brother and bill lead sponsor, Maryland State Senator Robert Garagiola, for fighting so hard to pass this bill. Today, is not just a victory for same-sex couples in Maryland, for Catholic families across the country, but a victory for this rising star in Maryland politics.

We are also heartened that this bill is now being sent for signing to the desk of our Catholic brother, Governor Martin O’Malley, who has led this important battle this year. Without your pro-equality Catholic leadership, Governor O’Malley, today’s victory would not have been possible.

We also applaud the work of our state affiliate, Maryland Catholics for Equality, under the leadership of State Chair Manley Calhoun, who worked to empower and mobilize the majority of Maryland Catholics who polls show support civil marriage equality.

And lastly, we are inspired by the countless number of Catholic families who stood up and spoke out so passionately during the statewide debate on marriage equality. You prove to the nation that faithful Catholics believe that sacramental/religious marriage can be protected inside our church, while our government extends civil/legal marriage licenses to same-sex couples in our city halls.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 — Maryland lawmakers have approved a marriage equality bill, putting the state on track to become the eighth to allow same-sex couples to marry. The bill passed the Senate today and the House of Delegates last week. Gov. Martin O’Malley introduced the measure.

Just last month, O’Malley gave a speech at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, the largest convening of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates in the country. In his remarks, the governor reiterated his support for the marriage bill and pledged to sign it.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is a member of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition, and has worked with local equality advocates over the years to secure protections for LGBT people and their families. This includes providing Equality Maryland with financial, technical and staff support throughout the 2011 legislative session.

The Task Force, through its Faith Partner Organizing Project, has also been working with faith communities in Maryland on public education efforts leading to this victory.

Maryland is poised to join Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington state, along with the District of Columbia, in allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“Maryland and marriage equality will certainly make a lovely couple. Maryland is the Free State, after all. To be able to share and celebrate one’s love and commitment both publicly and legally is a lifelong dream for thousands of same-sex couples and their families. It’s thrilling that Maryland is poised to make this a reality by becoming the latest state to treat its families fairly. This has been a long journey of changing hearts and minds, of breaking down walls, of shining a spotlight on our common humanity. Congratulations to Equality Maryland, Marylanders for Marriage Equality and all those who have been part of the journey leading to this victory.”

Marylanders for Marriage Equality Coalition

ANNAPOLIS – Following the successful vote in the House of Delegates last week, the Maryland Senate today approved the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which enables committed gay and lesbian couples to get a civil marriage license. While the Governor has stated his strong desire to sign the bill, the next step is likely to be the November ballot, where voters will support or oppose marriage equality.

 

 

“We’re fortunate to be riding a huge wave of momentum as we enter the referendum process,” said Sultan Shakir, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. “There is still a lot of work to do over the coming months, but we think voters will ultimately agree that all children, no matter who their parents are, should be protected under the law. Marriage equality is about building strong, stable families.”

 

 

A Washington Post poll released last month shows a majority of Marylanders support same-sex marriage.

 

Opponents of marriage equality are expected to begin obtaining the requisite 55,736 signatures necessary to refer the Civil Marriage Protection Act to the general election ballot this November – pending all legal requirements are met pertaining to the signature collection process.

 

In the coming weeks, Marylanders for Marriage Equality will be undertaking a significant public education and engagement campaign to let voters know the Civil Marriage Protection Act strengthens all families and protects religious liberty.

 

 

Each coalition partner, including 1199 SEIU, ACLU of Maryland, Equality Maryland, Human Rights Campaign, Progressive Maryland and others – is grateful to all senators, particularly Senators Ferguson, Forehand, Frosh, Garagiola, Gladden, Jones-Rodwell, Kelley, King, Kittleman, Madaleno, Manno, McFadden, Montgomery, Pinsky, Pugh, Ramirez, Raskin, Robey, Young, and Zirkin who cosponsored the bill.

 

 

“We want to thank the senators who cast their votes today in favor of equality for all the families in Maryland. Their unwavering commitment has helped ensure we provide protections and dignity to our families,” explains Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Equality Maryland.
“1199 SEIU members stand with our Delegates and Senators who voted for marriage equality. Their vote makes Maryland and all its working families stronger,” said Ezekiel Jackson of 1199 SEIU.

“We’re one step closer today to full equality for all families,” said Melissa Goemann, legislative director of ACLU of Maryland. “Legislators have voted to protect religious liberty while allowing for equal protection under the law for same-sex couples and their families.”

“Committed gay and lesbian couples and their children are on the road to being protected equally under the law due to the efforts of the Senate today,” said Kate Planco-Waybright, interim executive director of Progressive Maryland.

Family Equality Council

Family Equality Council, the national organization that connects, supports and represents the one million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and the two million children they are raising, today congratulated Maryland families after the state Senate approved a bill that will provide the freedom to marry for all Maryland residents. Governor Martin O’Malley is expected to sign the legislation within days.

Family Equality Council is part of Marylanders for Marriage, a coalition of labor, faith, civil liberties, and LGBT rights organizations that have worked to bring civil marriage equality to Maryland.

Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Equality Council, said marriage will strengthen Maryland families.

“Maryland is home to more than 2,500 LGBT parents who are raising more than 5,000 children,” said Chrisler.  “These moms and dads want the same things for their children that all parents do -  respect, protection and a bright future. Now they can tell their children the state respects their commitment to one another, the law will protect their families, and that they will grow up in state that will give their family every opportunity to have that bright future.”

“Maryland now joins seven other states and the District of Columbia on the leading edge of a national movement to allow all committed and loving couples the freedom to marry. We look forward to the day when all Americans can enjoy that freedom.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

New Florida Surgeon General’s First Act: Allowing Students Exposed to COVID to Attend School With No Restrictions

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He hasn’t even been confirmed yet by the Florida state Senate but Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Governor Ron DeSantis‘s new Surgeon General, on Wednesday signed an executive order that changes state policy on school attendance for students who have been exposed to COVID-19.

The order, which replaces an August 6 order by Dr. Ladapo’s predecessor, declares that students who have been exposed to COVID-19 can continue attending school in-person, as long as they are asymptomatic. It also repeatedly states that parents have sole discretion on how children are educated – in person or virtually – and on masks, effectively eliminating any locally-ordered mask mandates.

“The school boards in Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Alachua and Leon counties [had] challenged the Aug. 6 rule, which did not include the new provision about parents or legal guardians having ‘sole discretion’ about opting out of school mask requirements,” the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reports.

Those lawsuits are now effectively null and void because of the new order.

Dr. Ladapo, who opposes mask and vaccine mandates, has likened the focus on getting Americans vaccinated to a religious obsession, and supports treatment of COVID-19 with drugs that are neither approved for use against the coronavirus nor have been proven to be effective – namely the livestock-dewormer Ivermectin and the malaria-drug hydroxychloroquine. He also appeared in the infamous viral video with a discredited doctor mocked as the “Demon Sperm” physician.

 

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GOING SCORCHED-EARTH

‘Will Harm Every American’: Trump Blasted for Telling GOP It’s ‘Unpatriotic’ to Not Block Dems on Debt He Created

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The former President of the United States, still the leader of the GOP and supposed “kingmaker” to any Republican desperate for his endorsement, is doing his best to undermine the Democrats and President Joe Biden, and he’s being criticized for it.

In one of his many press releases that still do not admit he is a former president, Trump on Wednesday said it would be “foolish and unpatriotic” of Republicans to not use the debt ceiling as a tool against the Democrats’ agenda, as he urged what could be economic catastrophe for the United States, should it default on its credit obligations and the government shut down.

As many have noted, raising the debt ceiling is to pay for the trillions of dollars in spending Trump signed into law.

“Republicans have no choice but to do what they have to do,” he claimed, implying he wants to see them carry out a scorched-earth policy.

Trump also falsely claimed Democrats are “trying to inflict…horror” upon America’s future.

He then called Democrats’ voting rights legislation that will protect and expand the franchise, “the end of our democracy.”

If the debt ceiling is not raised, ultimately, the federal government would default on its bills. What does that mean?

“If the U.S. government cannot pay its bills, millions of Americans would be affected,” CBS News reports today. “Social Security payments would not go out; U.S. troops and federal civilian employees would not be paid. Veterans could see compensation or pension payments lapse. And millions of Americans on food assistance would see benefits stop.”

Democratic Rep. Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands is warning if the GOP follows Trump’s demands it “will harm every American.”

Trump’s press release:

 

 

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News

President Biden Had Two Vulgar Words to Say When He First Encountered One of Trump’s ‘Toys’ in the White House

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According to the book “Peril,” as newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden first toured the White House after Donald Trump vacated it January 20, he encountered one room of the former president’s “toys,” and responded with a two-word vulgarity.

“Trump’s existence permeated the White House, even the residence,” Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa write in the new book, per an excerpt cited by ABC News, HuffPost reports. “One night, Biden wandered into a room where a huge video screen covered the wall. To relax, Trump used to upload programs to virtually play the world’s most famous golf courses.”

The new President had just two words to say about the golf “toy.”

“What a fucking asshole,” President Biden responded.

 

Image: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz via Flickr

 

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