Annapolis – One of the signatures pieces of Governor Martin O’Malley’s 2012 session is his renewed effort to get a same sex marriage bill through the legislature. He came very close last year and was buoyed when the state of New York agreed to grant the unions. In effort to placate some of the traditional opposition he’s tweaked the legislation to allow for opting out on religious grounds. Several churches were concerned they would be force to perform ceremonies. Another sticking point was potential civil suits from businesses (i.e. caters, florist, wedding planner etc…)who might refuse to work with same sex couples.
With a back drop of supporters the governor announced this year’s effort.
Governor O’Malley will have a tough time trying to convince members of the Catholic Archdiocese which have been vociferous in their opposition to the measure. The other constituency he’ll have to convince is a number of African-American delegates from Prince Georges County, who have been told in so many words by several mega churches, not to support the measure. To allay the fears of these delegate it’s been suggested the measure be given to the citizens of Maryland via referendum. The forces against this issue will mobilize next week. Monday, January 30, 2012, a statewide coalition of faith and community leaders will speak out in support of the state's definition of marriage-one man and one woman. Sen.C. Anthony Muse, Del. Cheryl Glenn, and Del. Jay Walker are expected to speak.
I talked with Raquel Guillory, one the governors press aides, about a referendum. she assured me if the measure passed with a referendum component the governor would sign it.
Strange Seat Fellows
You would think in election year members of the GOP have made any semblance to liking anyone from the Democratic Party taboo. Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich who appeared in an ad with the former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi is now disavowing the ad as a crucial mistake. Not so last night at the SOTU, Maryland’s Western Congressman , Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, sat next to the former Speaker of the House and joined in several standing ovations. The congresswoman and the very conservative Representative have sat together before. According to sources from the “Pit Press Corp” the pair enjoy each others company. Wondering if the picture will end up in a Superpac ad?
Praying Against a Tide
For the last two weeks my email has been bombard about the upcoming Ocean City Mayor’s Annual Prayer Breakfast and the featured Speaker U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Jerry Boykin. Boykin, the ex-genral, bills himself as an expert on Islam. Some suggest he is bigoted with controversial ideas about the Muslims (they are out their).
I've received a number of emails from Josh Glasstetter of People For the American Way. They have gone after Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan to reject/dis-invite Boykin’s to Thursday’s prayer breakfast. Opponent and proponents are prepared to come out in force. I'm reminded this is a Prayer Breakfast.
Trying to Survive Politically
Annapolis outside of the legislature has it’s own storyline. This year much was made of the conviction of Councilman Daryl Jones who was convicted of federal tax evasion. In a story that will tug at your heart is that of Annapolis Alderman Kenneth A. Kirby. He was recently caught up in a raid for known drug activity. He was found in a Public Housing apartment watching television. He wasn’t charged. Unknown from many is he is homeless. Several papers have followed up on this and I was move by an article in the Baltimore Sun. The article chronicles the alderman's challenges.
Items of Note
The legislature learned the state of Maryland's overall Unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation.
I was surprise to see there are differences between some Eastern shore representatives on "Rock Fish" quotas. Last year the Department of Natural Resources discovered a number of illegal nets. The DNR has decided to reduce the 2012 Commercial Striped Bass Quota by 5%.
The salvo from Del. McDermott at Sen.James Mathias, who agreed with DNR, lays down a unique marker. According to Del. Mike McDermott, Sen. Mathias, "believes that the Department of Natural Resources can act in any way they want, without accountability, questioning, or critique, especially without regard for the fisherman of the Eastern Shore. I was elected to represent the needs of the 38th District and stand as a guardian for those whose voices are being drowned out...Nowhere would an employee of a company be docked 5% of their pay on the presumption that they will steal that same 5% from their employer. It is an absurd premise.”
Can you say electoral challenge.
New York has been the traditional stop for the NAVY when it comes to a term called "Fleet Week." The suggestion that the rank and file are treated as conquering hero's (figurative and literally)is alive when they come to town. Mothers hide your daughters these young men are coming to Baltimore to help commemorate the War of 1812/"Navy Week." Here's there press release, Baltimore's Navy Week, June 11-19, 2012.
Next week the Governor delivers his State of the State address. Will he mention the dreaded tax for gasoline issue or will he do a California Governor Jerry Brown ultimatum. "Okay you don't want to raise taxes, well here are Draconian cuts."