April 8, 2005 General 0

Oh lovely. Of course our state’s legislature is controlled by Dems and a ton of RINO’s. Frankly..unless Ehrlich gets a tons of pressure from the citizens of Maryland he will sign it since he is the head RINO in Maryland.

Let’s just pray this thing gets held up until Tuesday(the session ends on monday) and then it dies forever after that.

Here is the article:
General Assembly OKs gay rights bills

Publish Date: 04/08/05

By Liz Babiarz
News-Post Staff

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland General Assembly on Thursday passed two bills that expand gay rights, allowing same-sex couples to enter into “life partnerships” and increasing penalties for hate crimes committed against homosexuals.

The controversial pair of bills caused emotional and contentious debate throughout the 90-day legislative session.

The House of Delegates approved 83-50 the Medical Decision Making Act. It would allow unmarried same-sex and heterosexual couples to register with the state as “life partners,” a designation that gives them the right to make medical decisions for each other.

Before the vote, Republicans came down hard on the Medical Decision Making Act.

Minority Whip Anthony O’Donnell said the legislation “chips away at the traditional institution of marriage” and would “rip families apart.” Delegate Don Dwyer, R-Anne Arundel, called it a “civil union bill.”

In response, Delegate Richard Madaleno, a Montgomery County Democrat who is one of three openly gay members of the state legislature, pleaded with his peers to extend basic human rights to unmarried couples.

The legislation guarantees life partners the right to visit each other in the hospital or nursing home, share ambulance rides and make decisions about whether to bury or cremate after death.

“I want the person I love and spend my life with, my life partner, to be allowed into the hospital and to have a part in my medical decisions,” Mr. Madaleno said. The delegate added he and his partner would sign up for the registry, “if and when” the bill becomes law.

Frederick County delegates were split on the issue. Delegates Galen Clagett, a Democrat, and Richard Weldon, a Republican, voted for the bill.

“To me, its about unmarried couples who’ve been in committed relationships being able to participate in medical and end-of-life situations together,” Mr. Weldon said.

But Frederick Delegates Joseph Bartlett, Patrick Hogan and Paul Stull — all Republicans — said no to the bill. Delegate Donald Elliott was in the hospital recovering from surgery and missed the voting session.

“I saw the bill as constituting a thinly veiled progression of the homosexual agenda,” Mr. Bartlett said.

Slightly different versions of the Medial Decision Making Act have passed both the Senate and House. At least one version of the bill needs to clear both chambers by Monday, the last day of the session, or the proposal will die.

Gov. Robert Ehrlich will not take a position on the bill unless the bill reaches his desk, his spokesman, Henry Fawell, said.

Also Thursday, Senators voted 34-13 in favor of the Hate Crime Penalties Act, a bill that would trigger stiffer penalties for crimes committed against gays, bisexuals and members of the transgendered community. Penalties would include up to 20 years in prison and $20,000 fine, if the crime results in death.

Conservative Republican Sen. Alex Mooney of Frederick voted against the bill. On Wednesday, Mr. Mooney offered a dozen amendments trying to extend protections to other groups including: nurses, pregnant women, teachers, veterans and civil rights leaders.

“It is a very extreme version of the gay rights agenda,” Mr. Mooney said. “… It is simply very bad policy for the state of Maryland to go down this road.”

Sen. David Brinkley, R-Frederick, who originally opposed the idea, cast a green vote after a colleague offered an amendment to protect religious leaders who express their views on homosexuality.

“There is a recognized problem with someone being able to discuss their view on homosexuality,” Mr. Brinkley said. “… We’re trying to prevent that.”

The hate crimes bill will now return to the House for approval of the Senate amendments, before reaching the desk of Gov. Robert Ehrlich. The House had passed an earlier version of the bill.

News-Post staff writer Clifford G. Cumber contributed to this report.