1-26-10: By the Power Maybe Vested in Me by the State…

January 25, 2010 at 6:44 pm 2 comments


One of the questions surrounding the issue of gay marriage is whether or not states will recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. In Maryland, a decision on the issue from Attorney General Gansler is expected soon. A few weeks ago Delegate Emmett Burns introduced legislation that would would ban Maryland’s recognition of same sex marriages performed in other states. Professors Jana Singer and Jane Murphy contributed to comments sent to Attorney General Gansler on the issue. We hear from Delegate Burns and Professors Singer and Murphy.

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Entry filed under: On Air, Policy, Politics, Religion. Tags: , , .

1-26-10: The $2 Billion Game The State of the State of the State Address

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lisa Polyak  |  January 26, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Del. Burns assertion that recognizing out-of-state marriage for same-sex couple constitutes “bad economic policy, bad social policy” is not supported by the facts. In fact his bill (HB90) represents a change to public policy that interferes with employer perogatives, drains public assistance coffers and encourages the taxbase to relocate out of Maryland:

    1) HB90 will drain limited State resources by forcing families onto public assistance programs (like Medicaid and unemployment compensation).

    BACKGROUND: MD is facing a $2 billion budget deficit and one of the few areas of discretionary spending that can be cut to meet the deficit is health care. MD hoped to get $389 million in stimulus $$ for Medicaid under the House health care bill which is now effectively dead. According to Mike Busch, the plan now is to cut reimbursement to Medicaid providers. This = less $$ to the Medicaid pool, and HB90 will increase numbers who need Medicaid services since out-of-state married couples cannot share health insurance.

    2) HB90 strips MD families of their employer-sponsored protections — it is bad for business.

    BACKGROUND: Employers carefully craft benefits they offer their employees to attract the best workforce. HB90 undercuts employer’s judgement and ability to compete by stripping out-of-state marrieds of protections like health insurance, medical leave, pension sharing – when they cross state lines.

    3) HB90 creates public policy that drains the tax base by giving citizens with the greatest resources (and ability to relocate) incentive to move out-of-state.

    BACKGROUND: MD will have to deal with the fiscal implications of DC marriage equality the same way they dealt with the fiscal implications of slots located in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Impetus for slots in MD was to offset the revenue drain to neighboring states. Similarly, MD will drive off the most lucrative and productive tax base if neighboring states offer better fiscal treatment.

    Reply
  • 2. Michael  |  January 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Del. Burns’ sponsorship of HB 90 is hardly surprising, given his public statements and obvious hostility to GLBT Marylanders. He not only disfavors same-sex marriage but appears to support all forms of discrimination against GLBT Marylanders. No doubt, he reaches his conclusions based on religious beliefs, to which he in entitled. As an elected official, however, he is not entitled to impose his religious beliefs through his role as a member of the General Assembly on all Marylanders.

    Legislators, listeners and readers should know that this is not a faceless issue involving “those” people who would be reduced to some demonized image of gay stereotypes by publicly-elected officials like Del. Burns and well-funded forces of intolerance. GLBT people work and live and work alongside you, pay taxes, raise children, vote, support local charities and generally contribute as good, productive citizens, just like their straight neighbors and friends. Obviously, there are good and bad GLBT Marylanders, just like everyone else. GLBT Marylanders are not “recruiting” anyone or seeking to impose their “will” on anyone.

    Rather, these Marylanders simply want to add their own personal voices in support of commitment, fidelity, integrity, family, love and support. They are not demons and have no agenda. Surely, these ideals are not against the public policy of the State of Maryland.

    This awful bill or one of many, other hateful pieces of legislation may well pass in Maryland under the guise of protecting families and doing God’s will. That is wrong. First, doing God’s will is not the business of the Maryland General Assembly. Second, even were it a proper role for government, which it is not, this action still would be wrong. There is no legitimate economic, health and welfare, safety or other public policy support for HB 90.

    Many people object to any comparison of this issue to earlier civil rights struggles, and there are fundamental differences. But, just consider the following cite from a 1950s-era concurring opinion of the supreme court of my home state of Florida, during its shameful, decades-long effort to resist desegregation of Florida’s education system, following the Supreme Court’s opinion in Brown v. Board of Education. The will of God was noted by the court as a principal source of support for the nearly 20-year effort by the state to prevent Virgil Hawkins, an African American man, from entering law school at the University of Florida. How harshly would history judge these words today:

    “When God created man, he allotted each race to his own continent according to color, Europe to the white man, and Asia to the yellow man, Africa the black man, and America to the red man, but we are now advised that God’s plan was in error and must be reversed….” The Florida Bar Journal, March 2006, citing concurring opinion of Justice Terrell in Board of Control v. Virgil Hawkins.

    Reply

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