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Maryland Lawmakers Clash Over Marriage Equality


This week the state of Maryland was embroiled in the battle for marriage equality as committees in the state's house and senate heard arguments in favor of and opposition to same-sex marriage.

On Wednesday a senate committee heard testimony on a proposal to legalize same-sex unions in the state and one to deny recognition to those authorized by other states, the Associated Press reported.

"I do believe that if any law were proposed to legalize gay marriage, it would not pass the Maryland senate, and if it did, I believe it would be petitioned to referendum," senate president Thomas V. Mike Miller said. "I don't think we're going either forward or backward on either bill."

On Thursday members of the house of delegates argued over the issue, The Washington Examiner reported. A bill to legalize same-sex marriage and one to amend the state's constitution to prevent such unions are before the house.

"Heterosexualness is in danger," said Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr. (pictured), a Democrat from Baltimore County. "I never thought I would live to see this day."

During the hearing Burns also said a picture of two men kissing, from the front page of The Washington Post, was disgusting, to the dismay of many same-sex couples in attendance. He also said gay couples cannot be compared to interracial couples.

"I cannot hide my color," the African-American delegate said. "Gays and lesbians can hide their relationships."

Heather Mizeur, a delegate from Montgomery County, spoke about her wedding to her partner in California before the passage of Proposition 8.

"We give over 400 rights to families who are married in this state," she said. "But because we don't live [in California], we get no rights associated with this piece of paper."

The issue of same-sex marriage has come to the forefront in Maryland because of the marriage equality law going into effect in neighboring Washington, D.C., and the state attorney general's issuance of an opinion that Maryland can recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

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