Good news for gay rights:
Maryland will join seven states and the District in allowing same-sex marriage, ending a year-long drama in Annapolis over the legislation and expanding nationwide momentum for gay rights.
The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 25 to 22 Thursday night, and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has vowed to sign it into law.
To win some of the final votes needed for passage in the House of Delegates last week, backers agreed to conditions that could help opponents place the new law on the November ballot. With polls showing the Maryland electorate almost evenly split on the issue, a referendum all but promises another contentious battle before the issue is settled in the state.
I can’t think of any other bill where they would vote for it but also agree to give voters a chance to undo it, but whatever. This is still good news.
Here in MD, we’re now waiting for the bigots to put the motion to “the people”.
That’s crazy that they voted for it but are now letting the general public vote on it. WTF kind of legislation is that?
In another ten years this whole issue is going to seem terribly antiquated. Young people just don’t get why anyone thinks gay people shouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else.
Fuck, that’s like every bill in CA.
And since it looks likely that the Dems will get ⅔ of the CA state senate this year, expect a metric fuckton of new ballot initiatives to hit after that since the GOP will have almost no power at all to influence legislation, so they’re going to do all of it through the initiative process.
“I can’t think of any other bill where they would vote for it but also agree to give voters a chance to undo it, but whatever.”
That’s just us damn gays asking for special rights.
@Martin: this and we need a law to reform ballot initiatives in the CA Senate. Hey, I know someone there, I should ask them.
The one good thing about CA is that it’s generously run an experiment for the rest of us, testing the proposition that direct democracy is, empirically, a good thing.
The results are in: a resounding “no”.
Not that civil rights should be put up for a popular vote but, as it seems we have to go through this, it will be a big deal when marriage equality is voted in for the first time. Likely to happen this year in WA, MD or ME, maybe all three. And then another lame argument by the haters will bite the dust.
It’s awesome that we’ve reached a point in this country where we decide by majority vote whether some people are entitled to full civil rights. But hey, whatever, let’s just win this one.
@liberal: Well, I make one really important exception to that. The one place where the initiative process has been, I think, an overall success is on issues where there is a conflict of interest to send them to the legislature. Basically all of the meta stuff: term limits, redistricting, campaign finance, that kind of stuff. Even ‘legislators don’t get paid if they don’t pass the budget on time.’
Those really are things that we shouldn’t trust the legislators to do, because they’re biased against the outcome, and they’re things that voters have as much of a vested interest in as the elections themselves.
I don’t know how you carve out that kind of an exception, but if you could, I’d leave initiatives open only to those kinds of items, and close off all of the others.
@ruemara: Cali needs a whole new constitution. The state government will stay a mess until Prop 13 and the like are purged.
I hear it’s coming back for another public vote in Maine too. It lost last time, but polling has improved.
Oh, and the legislature there didn’t put it up for voter approval, they just made the process for someone else to do that effort somewhat easier. There’s no assurance that opponents will successfully do that and it seems like a stupid year in which to try.
They struck the same deal to get the last few Conservadem State Senators to approve the Equal Marriage bill in Washington State.
Of course, now the issue is that the winger Attorney General may be playing games with his ability to influence the phrasing of the ballot question – he wants the ballot question to be about “redefining marriage”.
And yet Alabama didn’t change their law against mixed race marriages until 1999. There are alot of crazy people out there.
If the Supreme Court refuses to hear the Prop 8 case, or affirms the 9th Circuit’s narrow ruling, then even if the voters of Maryland overturn marriage, it may come back into effect anyway. That was the thrust of the narrow ruling: You can’t take rights away that already exist.
@Martin: Even some of those are pretty bad- term limits suck, and legislators not getting paid because of the budget is kind of a cruel joke considering that they can only manipulate around 15% of the budget and can never raise taxes no matter what. I like that voters can say “we want high speed rail” but there’s got to be a better way to do it than what we have now.
Speaking as a former Washingtonian, it’s not that the legislator made a deal to have it voted on, it’s that if initiative gatherers get enough signatures during a certain time span after legislative action, the legislation is stayed pending a popular vote.
Legislators have nothing to do with it.
Well, it MIGHT work as precedent but obviously MD isn’t part of the 9th Circuit. WA is but I wonder if one could end up with a nitpicking ruling where, as no marriages took place between the legislature’s actions and the popular vote (which appears to be a potential chain of events in both WA and MD) the CA ruling (and Romer which it is heavily based upon) don’t apply.
Obama is worse than Bush! He sold us out!
Oops, am I in the wrong thread?
I’m happy for Maryland to pass this law. Even though Oregon is a liberal state, I think it was put to a vote too early for it to have passed. But I hope it will get tried again now that other states are passing it.
@Satanicpanic: But at least it seems that the redistricting measure, for once, worked out. Of course the GOP is now trying to undo it via the same process.
Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity
@Martin: California’s initiative process is so broken that it needs to be scrapped entirely. It’s bought nothing but ruin and disaster on the state.
@MikeJ: Alabama’s constitution is a worse mess than California’s. It’s the longest operating constitution in the word. From Wikipedia:
Great, so we get largely symbolic, if not harmful, decisions by a minority of angry voters who want to stick it to the legislature that they elected (and then hamstrung) in the first place.
I can’t think of any other bill where they would vote for it but also agree to give voters a chance to undo it, but whatever.
They didn’t. What they agreed to was that marriages could not begin while petitions for a rollback election were being counted. Another words, it’s legal, but it doesn’t go into effect until the people who want the rollback get a shot at their petition drive. (And they agreed to this to get the vote of Democratic legislators.) I don’t think it’s really a big deal, since rollback is always feasible and this just introduces a small delay – that trade is worth it to secure passage.
(The usual suspects are also trying to rollback in-state tuition for children of illegals. I dunno if they put a delay in that bill though.)
[‘I’ve heard of this kind of thing occurring a couple of times over the years. That’s your legislative sausage being made there!’]
I’m trying to understand how he can legally do that. There’s a huge difference between adjusting phrasing for clarity, and intentionally distorting the already-clear meaning and intent of the initiative.
The Ancient Randonneur
I propose MD put to the people whether or not the Pedophile Collective known as the Roman Catholic Church be disbanded and all of its property confiscated by the state to be sold off and proceeds given to the victims of the child raping enablers. Seems only fair, no?
@cthulhu: That was a step in the right direction. Our statewide races are absurdly uncompetitive.
Well, I never said I liked the outcomes, but if we delegate power in a representative democracy, it makes sense that we retain the power to not only choose the representatives, but how we choose the representatives.
I’d also be fine if ballot initiatives could therefore only appear on November ballots in even years, or that there be a minimum participation rate for passage that parallels the participation rate for the initiative to appear on the ballot. It makes no sense whatsoever to demand more people sign a petition than actually vote for the damn thing. So, instead of just requiring this for placing an item on the ballot:
“registered voters amounting to 8% (for a constitutional amendment) or 5% (for a statute) of the number of people who voted in the most recent election for governor.”
We add “approved by voters amounting to 66% (for a constitutional amendment) or 50% (for a statute) of the number of people who voted in the most recent election for governor.”
So, a ⅔ majority of voters that participated in the most recent governors race for amendments or a 50% majority for statutes. In the latter case, it matches the standard intent for passage, as if it’s during an even year november election, it’ll automatically reduce effectively to a 50% majority (it might need to come in slightly higher for people that vote for governor and skip the initiatives), and for amendments, it matches the standard placed on the legislature and for voter approval for a new constitution.
That’d stop most initiatives dead in their tracks without eliminating things like redistricting, which looks to have been a pretty good initiative.
Davis X. Machina
Maine did this. Passed the legislature, people overturned it in a ‘citizens’ veto’ referendum.
OTOH, the bill eliminating same-day voter registration passed the legislature, and was overturned the same way.
The referendum-and-initiative process is a two-edged sword.
Related: I just got called the F word at work! Both the four letter one and the six letter one! Attitude check, he needed one. Yeesh.
@Yutsano: You seem surprised.
Well, no good will come of this:
They’re enriching to 20%, according to the article. That’s a real problem if true. Research reactors often run that high, but there was a deal in place to provide Iran small quantities of higher enriched uranium for that purpose. 20% is also the point that you can effectively build weapons.
If they don’t resolve this soon, my guess is there’s going to be action. They can’t afford to drag it out for months.
Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity
@Martin: Seems sometimes like both Israel and Iran both want to drag us to our doom.
Actually, make that “all the time”.
Davis X. Machina
@Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity: Anything short of doom, though, keeps the parties in power, in power, when they’d otherwise be out on their asses.
@Martin: Yeah, we’re gonna end up bombing them. There really is no way around it anymore.
Can Washington’s be undone? It’s in the 9th Circuit, and marriages will soon begin to take place–well before any referendum, yes?
You work at Disney too, huh?
Good for Maryland! Hope the referendum fails in November.
As a Washingtonian, it is my understanding that no marriages are actually happening yet, while it’s seen if the opponents are able to get enough signatures for a referendum.
Yes, Washington’s law can be undone. Right now, there’s a ballot initiative filed to reverse the state law legalizing same-sex marriage, Referendum 74. If it gets enough signatures by June 6 (around 120,000, IIRC), the law will be suspended until the issue is decided at the ballot in November 2012. If the referendum passes, the law is overturned. If it fails, the law stands.
There’s another twist to the story. There’s another intiative, I-1192, that seeks to redefine marriage in state law as between one man and one woman. It needs more signatures than Referendum 74 to get on the ballot, and even if it gets on the ballot, the state law allowing marriage equality would still operate (but if R-74 also gets on the ballot, the law is suspended). If I-1192 passed, it would effectively undo current state law.
The progress is that ten years ago, the prospects for marriage equality passing into law via legislation in ANY state (or even one house of any state) would have been…less than zero. It’s also progress that if opponents in Md. do actually succeed in getting a referendum to repeal it on the ballot in November, their best-case chance is to eke out a squeakingly narrow majority on the issue, and they have zero chance of passing one of those noxious constitutional amendments specifying marriage is only between a man and a woman.
@cathyx: I know I’m surprised. That’s a pretty serious breach of Seattle nice decorum.
@Yutsano: I assume the six letters refer to a bundle of firewood and not a variant of the four letter variety. I hope this isn’t a canary in the coal mine.
OTOH, if the campaign for the referendum is openly name calling it might lose some of the support that a more “civil” campaign would have. I don’t think that will play well even in the east side of the state.
I’m not sure what exact words he used, but there’s no excuse for that kind of thing.
@OzoneR: Well, I’m not sure it’s a given yet, but it lurched a lot closer today it appears.
@Martin: We’re going to have to. Israel will demand it- or do it themselves- and we’ll have to defend them. We don’t have a choice.
We can’t afford an invasion and overthrow of the government, but we can set their nuclear ambitions back a decade and kick the can down the road in hopes of a saner government taking power in Tehran.
@OzoneR: No – we do have lots of choices and why would we need to defend those asswipes? Iran can’t hit them in any direct manner (but will hit them in other ways) and their ability to hurt Iran is very, very limited. Experts figure a year delay at best. A totally useless move except it creates open hot war for the right wingers (both sides)and trashes the world’s economies. Only right wing asswipes (more so israeli loons but will delight the Iran mullahs) would do such harm for so little gain.
We will do nothing except veto the UN resolution about the attack (if the attack does occur); even many of the standard brain dead jews (both there and here) will realize they get a hot war over many years with a country that will then go nuclear in a very short time. This helps them how? and turns world opinion very much against them.
Three words- Congressman Bob Turner.
Democrats need the Jewish vote and Republicans want it.
How does bulldozing neighborhoods in Gaza and the West Bank and putting up their own help them? It doesn’t but they did it anyway. Israel doesn’t care what the world thinks of them so long as they have us as lackeys.
The only way this doesn’t turn into a war is if the American people stand up and say ‘No, we’re not being Israel’s bitch this time”
[hyperbole]Gays can marry?!!!!!!!???
Next thing you know, Southern Baptist pastors will be forced to preside over fully Catholic weddings. That’s the slippery slop after pastors are forced to hold these gay weddings for teh gays. [/hyperbole]
I suspect the conservative black churches in MD will be heavily against this issue and will be very active in rounding up the signatures and votes to defeat it.
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
@Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity:
For Iran to build an atomic weapon, would be incredibly destabilizing for the entire region, and not just Israel, who is capable of defending itself. The hatred for the state of Israel is very shallow compared to the ancient and deep tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the region.
Having THE Bomb would at once allow Iran to bully any Sunni country when it felt like it, as well as any western country, and would almost certainly result in Saudi Arabia building a bomb as well. And from there, you are only a skipped rock on a pond to the apocalypse.
We can bomb them, and our bunker busters may set them back awhile, meanwhile they fucknut around with the Persian Gulf armada of western bound oil, or global bound, and you may not even need an apocalyptic event in the ME to bring on cascading world econ calamity.
It is a totally fucked situation all the way around, and likely the only way to keep all or any of those nightmare scenarios from happening would be a true world effort to threaten invasion, and follow through if Iran does not back down. Then there is Russia and China to deal with.
This also means that gay dollars will be going to the ballot measures in MD, WA & ME instead of into (re)election campaigns. I want Obama and Warren to win but I think my money is better spent on ME since there are plenty of other people who care about those two that can donate.
The same-sex marriage bill was up last year as well, and failed to pass the legislature. This year, the time delay in implementation was needed in order to get legislators to sign on. So be it. It will be a fight now over the popular referendum, but there’s something to be said for the idea that this is something that the public needs to hash out amongst themselves.
Also, hi, max.
@General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):
then where the hell are the Arab countries on this?
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
“but there’s something to be said for the idea that this is something that the public needs to hash out amongst themselves”
Indeed. There is something to be said about mob rule/law of the jungle. And that thing is that why fucking bother with civilization then? Let’s just let raw power and numbers rule the day.
There is definitely something to be said about a portion of the population being able to single out another portion of the population for different treatment under the law for no apparent reason other than they find said people icky.
I hear you. Yet we know that the slow but steady acceptance of same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage, is a function of slowly shifting public opinion. What’s a governor who has to acknowledge that s/he represents all of the people to do?
I don’t fault O’Malley for this. He pushed it as far as he could go.