This looked like a done deal after the Senate approved it, but the same-sex marriage bill went down to defeat this afternoon. I find this to be particularly noteworthy:
Advocates for the bill had hoped Maryland would join five other states and the District in allowing same-sex marriages. The bill had significant momentum coming out of the Senate but ran into resistance in the Democratic-led House from African-American lawmakers from Prince George’s County, who cited religious opposition in their districts, and conservative Democrats in Southern Maryland and the Baltimore suburbs.
People assume that because Maryland is a deeply blue state that same-sex marriage would find more support than in other areas of the country, but there is some innate social conservatism here thanks in part to the substantial African-American population. This was brought home to me just yesterday when I read an op-ed opposing gay marriage in an independent local paper aimed at the African-American community, and not one normally noted as a bastion of conservative thought. But I think this vote represents one of the potential areas for schism within the Democratic party. Just a year ago or so Marion Barry expressed his opposition to DC’s imposition of same-sex marriage, and now we have lawmakers from a majority-black county blocking same-sex marriage in Maryland.
All in all, a day for rejoicing. For now.