October 26, 2012

State Roundup, October 26, 2012

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TWO SIDES OF MARRIAGE: Jean Marbella of the Sun writes about two women who have firm beliefs in what ideal marriage means. But one is for allowing gays to marry and one is against.

Joel McCord of WYPR-FM interviews clergy for their divergent views on gay marriage.

AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE: For Derek McCoy of Maryland Marriage Alliance, opposing same-sex marriage is not a matter of civil rights, bigotry toward gays or making some consenting adults happy. It is about an attempt to redefine marriage as other than between a man and a woman, reports Nicholas Stern in the Frederick News-Post.

OBAMA IN AD: President Obama is heard endorsing same-sex marriage in a new radio ad being aired by supporters of Question 6, the Maryland ballot measure that would legalize gay unions, blogs John Wagner in the Post.

Annie Linskey and John Fritze of the Sun quote Obama for America spokesman Frank Benenati as saying, “While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect.”

EQUAL PROTECTION: In a Sun op-ed, Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Martin O’Malley write that, as public servants, they do not believe that government has any business telling one class of couples that they cannot marry. The 14th Amendment guarantees us all equal protection under the law, and that’s what Maryland’s Question 6 does.

SUN ON GAY MARRIAGE: The editorial board for the Sun, in backing marriage equality, said that a central message of those leading the campaign against Maryland’s it is that they are not opposed to gays and lesbians or to ensuring their civil rights. But that contention is undermined by the pastor who said that homosexuality or even condoning homosexuality is “worthy of death,” and that those who vote for Question 6 are “approving these things that are worthy of death.”

GALLAUDET RALLY: John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports on the loud protest at Gallaudet University, where people rallied for the reinstatement of diversity officer Angela McCaskell, who had been suspended for signing the petition to put the gay marriage law on the ballot. A number of the protesters are gay marriage supporters.

TUITION HIKE: Gov. Martin O’Malley said yesterday that he hopes to hold tuition increases for Maryland residents attending the state’s public universities to no more than the 3% he has allowed in each of the last three years, reports the Sun’s Michael Dresser.

PIT BULLS & LIABILITY: Maryland lawmakers worked yesterday to create legislation responding to a state court ruling that pit bulls are “inherently dangerous” but struggled over the issue of liability, writes Matt Connolly of the Washington Examiner.

TRICKS FOR TREATS: For the 18th year, the Maryland State Highway Administration is offering its Vests for Visibility Program, which lends reflective vests to children and their chaperones during trick-or-treat and the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office is offering safety tips to prevent accidental fires, writes Don Dearth for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

1st DISTRICT FIELD SMALLER: It was a short trip on the campaign trail for unaffiliated write-in candidate Douglas Rae, who announced last week his decision to drop out. Rae was running for Maryland’s 1st District U.S. House seat, currently held by Republican Andy Harris, writes Daniel Divilio of the Eastern Star Democrat. With Rae out, Harris faces Democratic write-in John LaFerla, Libertarian Muir Boda and unaffiliated write-in candidate Michael Calpino.

DISTRICT 5 FIELD: The lousy odds of a Republican winning the 5th Congressional District aren’t stopping three challengers from taking on U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Democrat who is seeking his 17th term in office, reports Allison Bourg for the Capital-Gazette. There’s Del. Tony O’Donnell, minority leader in the Maryland House of Delegates; Bob Auerbach, a 92-year-old member of the Green Party who wants to eliminate the military and establish a Department of Peace; and Arvin Vohra, a Libertarian who lives outside the district and wants to end the war on drugs and tax-bloated government contracts.

PROGRESSIVE AGENDA: When V. I. Lenin wanted to change the economic course of the fledgling Soviet Union in the 1920s, he instituted the New Economic Policy. In the 1950s, Mao Tse-tung sought to transform China with the Great Leap Forward. In the 2010s, a group of progressives dissatisfied with the United States’ political and social landscape – including Gov. O’Malley – are pushing the Genuine Progress Indicator, writes Jim Pettit of Change Maryland in the National Review.

$400,000 A MONTH: Baltimore is wasting about $400,000 every month it does not install a new phone system, a lawyer for Comptroller Joan Pratt argued in court yesterday, Luke Broadwater in the Sun reports in the Sun. But the mayor’s lawyers argued that Pratt has no legal right to sue the city because she is a city officer.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: State Sen. Jamie Raskin said he will push again for legislation to modify the state’s ethics law in order to keep small-town officials from resigning over strict financial disclosure requirements that already have led two Chevy Chase Village representatives to step down, Benjamin Ford reports in the Gazette.

UGLY PROCESS, UGLY MAP: In a commentary for MarylandReporter.com, Len Lazarick writes that while there are legitimate arguments on both sides of the ballot questions on expanded gambling, same-sex marriage and tuition breaks for immigrant children, all the arguments for Question 5 are blatantly bogus. Democrats supporting the maps say they were drawn in an “open and transparent process” and, in the end, that the redistricting itself was fair, bipartisan and approved by the courts. Those adjectives are mostly untrue.

CLERGY AGAINST 7: Prince George’s County clergy are getting ready for a final push against casino gambling in the county, writes the Gazette’s Daniel Leaderman.

LEE’S PICKS: Gazette columnist Blair Lee gives his endorsements on the ballot questions: 50/50 on immigrant tuition, no on the other three.

BIG LIE: In his Gazette column, Barry Rascovar says Penn National is perpetrating the “big lie” in its campaign against expanded gambling and Question 7.  In another Gazette commentary, State Sen. Jim Brochin says it is the proponents of more gambling who are lying by seeking tax breaks for mega-millionaires.