SB241 is Marriage Equality Bill that no longer defines marriage as just man and woman, but the language now says Man and Woman or Individuals hence clearing the way for same sex marriages. This bill was passed by the Senate but failed in House of Delegates in 2011 legislative session but this year once specific change that may help it pass is the fact no longer the clergy are not held accountable if they refuse to marry or grant services to same sex couples if it is not allowed within the churches doctrine. There are still religious communities throughout Maryland that are opposed to such legislation. However there seems to be more people on board this year than last year including many churches that do support it, even the Maryland State Bar Association in in support of marriage equality. It is in my opinion that the religious community that is opposing it now just don't want anything to happen and don't believe in compromise. They should be happy that the do not have to be pressured into marrying same sex couples and do not have to worry about lawsuits against them for refusing to marry. There are plenty enough of same sex friendly churches now that it is still possible to marry in a church if the couple wishes to do so but as always since the dawn of time in legal marriages we can still go to the courthouse and see the marriage through after being licensed by the state. Maryland courthouses win also with increased revenue from marriage licenses with the most increase on or about October 1st of these year when the bill will be in effect if passes then will see a drop in licenses but still foresee a signification increase compared to just heterosexual marriage licenses. On the same token gay friendly churches will also see increased revenue as well. To the parties that are so closed minded and unwilling to waiver or compromise. One way or another all these civil rights and liberties that heteros have taken for granted will come to pass for the LGBT Americans.
In other news SB 212 Bill also was introduced to the state house as anti-discrimination legislation to add gender identity to the language of the already existing law. For quite some time now the law read that no one can discriminate based on race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, GENDER IDENTITY, or disability. It even goes to explain what gender identity is. This law is to be in effect on October 1st 2012 along with the marriage bill if all passes. Basically what this means is that discrimination against transgender community is illegal with in places of employment, housing and pretty much every where so that makes transgender females like myself would be able apply for a job or work in a job presenting myself as female and the "boss" cant do anything about it. It also includes protections for harassment in the work place which means the employer must take appropriate action if said employee is being harassed for his or her gender identity.
These to bills in the 2012 legislative session are major turning points for LGBT American equality. I commend Governor O'Malley for his support by introducing these on our behalf being right on the front lines. I also give some serious kudos to his wife First Lady Catherine O' Malley for which she stood up and called the state delegations that opposing the bills cowards than later apologized. If it were me I would not have apologize because I call them as I see them.
Readers wishing to view the SB 212 and SB241 may click on the two links below. These are in PDF format.
SB 241-Marriage Equality