Good news for us, bad news for Maggie Gallagher’s Whack-A-Mole show. Nothing is a done deal yet, but it looks hopeful in Maryland:
Now it appears that the wait in Maryland is nearing an end. The State House’s Democratic majorities have been blocked by Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr., who has opposed gay marriage.
But not much longer. “We really feel like 2011 is the year,” said Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, the state’s most prominent gay-marriage lobby group.
Miller has given his blessing to a committee realignment that all but ensures that a gay-marriage measure will make it to the Senate floor during this year’s session, which starts Wednesday – and presumably onto the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who pledged last year to sign it.
Same-sex marriage, for all intents and purposes, already exists in Maryland. Last year, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler issued an opinion that recognized out-of-state gay unions – legitimizing “MARC marriages,” where gay and lesbian couples can simply hop a train down to the District to get hitched before returning home with all the state rights and privileges afforded a married straight couple.
In other words, the debate at this point boils down to whether lawmakers want gay Maryland residents to spend their wedding budgets at home or in the District.
And in Rhode Island:
Two days after Governor Lincoln Chafee called on legislators to swiftly legalize same-sex marriage, a pair of lawmakers say they will introduce bills to do just that.
Representative Art Handy, Democrat of Cranston, and Senator Rhoda Perry, Democrat of Providence, said yesterday that they would reintroduce bills to legalize same-sex marriage. The bills died last year in the House and Senate.
The legislation has been introduced several times in recent years, but failed as it faced opposition from Governor Donald L. Carcieri, a Republican, and previous legislative leaders. Democrat Gordon Fox, who is openly gay and a cosponsor of the bill, became House speaker last year.
“I think the fact that we have a governor that’s enthusiastic about the legislation makes a huge difference,’’ Handy said.
If you live in Rhode Island or Maryland, now would be a good time to start calling your representatives.