Maryland is a deep blue Democratic state, but it has a fair share of socially conservative voters who are not certain to approve of same-sex marriage if it were to be decided at the ballot box.
Even so, Washington Post staffer John Wagner failed to quote at least one state legislator opposed on principle to a bill to allow same-sex marriage in the Old Line State.
In his February 8 Metro section front-pager "Backers of gay marriage in Md. want no half measure,"* Wagner noted an openly-gay lawmaker who denounced a compromise civil unions bill as a "non-starter." Later in the article, Wagner quoted a moderate Republican state senator who lamented that his preference for civil unions would go nowhere, so he's given in and backs passage of a same-sex marriage bill.
No legislator who opposes gay marriage on pure principle was quoted by Wagner, although Wagner noted the objection of Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore) that a same-sex marriage bill could well be overturned by voters on a ballot initiative, creating "a mess."
For its part, the Baltimore Sun yesterday afternoon noted the objections of some black Democratic legislators who represent fairly religious constituencies:
Nearly one-third of the senators are Catholic, according to the Maryland Catholic Conference, and many other legislators are deeply involved in other churches. Sen. C. Anthony Muse, a Prince George's County Democrat who opposes same-sex marriage, is senior pastor of the Ark of Safety Christian Church in Upper Marlboro.
"I was very much a civil rights warrior," said Sen. Joanne Benson, a Prince George's County Democrat who said she participated in sit-ins and marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. but opposes the legislation.
"I do not view gay marriage as a civil rights issue."
*The online headine is worded slightly differently: "Supporters of same-sex marriage in Md. unlikely to settle for civil unions."