Pro-family activism that makes a difference!

Fierce battle over "gay marriage" bill in Maryland legislature. Passed in House on Friday. Fight now moves to Senate!

Heavy-handed tactics by Democrats and pressure from national pro-gay Republicans. MassResistance testified at Maryland State House

POSTED: Feb. 21, 2012

1. Powerful pro-family rally featuring church leaders!

2. Senate and House hearings: Pro-family activists told "be moderate"

3. Bill passes House - Sleazy pressure tactics and cowardice.

4. On to the Senate. What happens now . . .

1. As hearings began: Powerful pro-family rally outside State House featuring church leaders!

A lot of people think of Maryland as a "liberal" state. But this year's "gay marriage" battle in Maryland erupted with a powerful pro-family rally outside of the Maryland State House on Jan. 30, the evening before the hearings started. It featured prominent church leaders, plus politicians and community leaders.

And they didn't pull any punches! You'll love this video. . .


"We are NOT cowards!" That phrase is used throughout the video because earlier in the week the Governor's wife publicly referred to pro-marriage people as "cowards." It spurred immediate outrage across the state.

We saw this button a lot at the hearing!

The rally also panned the "religious protection" language in the bill, which church leaders wisely rejected because it ignored individuals, schools, and everyone else.

"Gay marriage" bill was re-filed by Governor after loss last year

As we reported last year a similar bill was filed in Maryland last year but was beaten by pro-family forces! There was a huge fight. It passed the state Senate, but was stopped in the House — despite overwhelming support for it by the legislators — after a heroic effort by the pro-family activists and the state Republican Party. (The following month a transgender bill was also killed by pro-family pressure!)

This year the "gay marriage" bill was re-filed by the Governor himself. The Governor publicly made it one of his top priorities to get it passed. Going into the hearings this year, the informal count was that the Senate had enough votes to pass it but the House was short by three or four.

The Governor and nearly all the top politicians in the state publicly supported "gay marriage." The Senate President, a Democrat, is strongly opposed to the bill but unfortunately indicated he would not use any of his power to stop it.

2. Senate and House hearings: A strong fight despite strategy of 'moderation' by pro-family establishment.

The Senate public hearing was on Jan. 31 — the day after the rally — and the House public hearing was on Feb. 10. Both hearings featured a full-court press by the homosexual lobby, which (as we've seen across the country) brought in prominent politicians, labor leaders, various "experts" and well-rehearsed activists with emotional testimony. The pro-family side consisted of mostly ordinary people and church leaders, with a few prominent activists.

Mandate from pro-family establishment: be moderate

If only the strong rhetoric from the rally was repeated in the hearings! But unfortunately that was squelched.

Even more so than last year, the pro-family establishment, led by the Maryland Family Alliance, was very insistent that they control the "message." They insisted that our side should be polite, courteous, not invoke the Bible ("No Bible thumping!"), not sound "anti-gay", etc. In addition, the main primary message was to be: "The word 'marriage' must be between one man and one woman." (Though not overtly stated, this inferred that "civil unions" instead of "gay marriage" was a suitable compromise —and many pro-family activists took that position in their testimony.)

In our experience that strategy is completely ineffective. Luckily, like last year, some groups ignored that and gave very effective testimony. But unfortunately the preponderance of our side's testimony in both hearings was terribly subdued and restrained.

Homosexual lobby's propaganda: emotion, misinformation, & "civil rights"

The homosexual lobby's finely honed propaganda has been consistent from state to state: They were born "gay" and it's "who they are"; they have loving families that with kids that need protection; they demand equal rights; human dignity; it's another chapter of the great Civil Rights" movement; and by supporting this you are on the "right side" of history. For this bill, they added the canard that the "religious protection" clauses that don't force churches to marry same-sex couples were a panacea for any legitimate religious objection.

In general, the pro-family side did not confront any of these arguments, but instead talked about the word marriage. And thus, many politicians simply bought into all of it.

SENATE HEARING - MassResistance tells of the Massachusetts experience!

For the Senate hearing on Jan. 31 the homosexual lobby was very well organized. They had the Governor, the Attorney General, and other prominent figures in to testify. They even brought in a crowd of people three hours early to attempt to get fill in all the available seats in the small hearing room which were open to the public, though that strategy was not entirely successful. (There was also a larger room downstairs with a closed-circuit TV for the overflow crowd.)

Since MassResistance had been very effective in helping stop the Maryland "gay marriage" bill last year, a solid pro-family group, Protect Marriage Maryland, brought Brian Camenker of MassResistance to the Maryland State House to testify on how "gay marriage" affected Massachusetts.

Outside of the Senate hearing room.
From left: Brian Camenker of MassResistance, Bill Wingard of Protect Marriage Maryland, Bishop Roger L. Tatuem, a prominent Maryland clergyman, and Peter Sprigg of Family Research Council in Washington, DC.

Pro-homosexual public officials:As the hearing opened, the opening pro-gay "marriage" barrage included major political figures. Each official's "reasoning" seemed more absurd than the next. Most of them simply parroted back the homosexual lobby's talking points.
[MassResistance photos]

Governor Martin O'Malley said that gay "marriage" is about "individual dignity" and that it's "for the children" and includes the "protection of religious freedom for all in the state."

Regarding his opponents, he said that people "have a right" to believe in traditional marriage, but "we live in a religious pluralistic state" with "a separation of church and state."

Attorney General Douglas Gransler:

"Dismantling this barrier for full citizenship for people who happen to be born gay is a moral imperative and a logical and historical inevitability."

"Indeed, most people under 40 years old don't know why this is an issue and why we're here debating it today."

"The Koran, the Torah, the Bible, none of them address the issue of gay marriage. They all address the issue of tolerance, dignity of human beings, equality, and freedoms."

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake:

"All couples in Maryland, regardless of their sexual orientation, want their children protected under the law."

"This bill is also about civil rights and about equality under the law, and a fight for equality that affects us all. The people of Maryland have fought for that equality for generations."

Another Senator testified that regular citizens and businesses should not be given any religious exemption from having to cater to "gay marriages" and thus should be liable for civil penalties for not accepting them or catering to them.

We were also lectured continuously about how important it is that everyone behaves in a "civil" manner in this "contentious issue." (The Left always calls for that when they are doing something particularly odious and outrageous.) One Senator even added that this kind of discourse is important because these legislators feels they must "shape public opinion".

The Senate testimony went on for four hours. The committee divided it evenly, with two hours allotted for each side. From the pro-family side:

Derek McCoy, head of Maryland Family Alliance, got roughed up by the hostile committee.

The representative from the Maryland Catholic Conference was disappointing. She said that the legislature could achieve what they want by implementing "civil unions" instead of "gay marriage." Later we asked her why she didn't mention that homosexuality was "objectively disordered" as the Church states. She agreed that the Church says that, but said that the legislators "wouldn't want to hear that."

Brian Camenker of MassResistance told the committee that people in Massachusetts are tired of every absurd movement being compared to the Civil Rights movement — the latest being the transgender movement. There are relatively few people actually entering into same-sex "marriages," but it is being used as a powerful club to force the acceptance of it in the schools and throughout society. He talked about the federal judge's ruling in the David Parker case that schools here are now legally obligated to portray homosexuality as normal.

HOUSE HEARING: From 1 pm until nearly midnight!

The Feb. 10 hearing in the House of Delegates was long and drawn-out, lasting from 1:00 pm until 11:45 pm. As usual, the homosexual lobby brought in wave after wave of panels of "experts" and "authorities" as well as union people, educators, etc.

Most of the pro-family testimony was fairly subdued, sticking to the "moderate" approach, but there were several who shook up the hearing with the plain truth.

Strong testimony from an ex-gay. For this hearing the Protect Marriage Maryland people brought in an incredible speaker, Anthony Falzarano, an ex-gay who was heavily involved in the homosexual lifestyle in Boston for nine years, and is now recovered and has been married for 30 years and has two grown children. His daughter was also at the hearing and testified.


(Right: Anthony Falzarano at the House hearing.)

AUDIO: This is the kind of testimony every legislator needed to hear:

Anthony Falzarano (4:10)

Anthony Falzarano testimony

Maryland elementary school teacher (4:11)

Maryland teacher testimony

Like last year, the main force behind the pro-family House of Delegates push was Delegate Don Dwyer. He is a true gem and an unflinching pro-family warrior in a sea of often mushy RINOs and Democrats. At the hearing Delegate Dwyer was very strong on the effects of same-sex "marriage" on children. But this time he inexplicably was swayed by the establishment, and admonished people not to invoke the Bible. He also introduced a last-minute "civil unions" amendment to the bill — probably as a delaying tactic, but still a bit disappointing.

Delegate Don Dwyer (left) with Brian Camenker of MassResistance

Looming shadow of statewide referendum if bill passes

Looming in the background throughout the hearings was the promise that pro-family groups would mount a state-wide referendum challenge to the law if it passed. This is allowed in Maryland and unfortunately helped to soften some of the politicians on our side. But state-wide petitions and subsequent elections are always difficult. And the Governor has recently bragged that his recent judicial appointees will likely derail the process on a number of technicalities. Thus, the pro-family movement has not been looking at this possibility with any degree of anticipation.

Dueling messages.

Pro-homosexual activist has slick "marriage equality" sticker and button promoting the odious "PFLAG" group that pushes homosexuality in public schools.

Bottom: Pro-family guy wears his message on his back!

ing pro-family group Protect Marriage Maryland holds up banner in State House hallway. Unlike the establish-
ment, they are some of the best activists you'll ever see!

3. Bill passes House on Friday evening, Feb. 17 as key pro-family votes flip at last minute. Sleazy pressure tactics and cowardice.

Going into the week, the pro-family forces had ample votes in the House of Delegates to stop the bill. But when the vote was finally taken, it passed 72-67, causing immediate celebration by the homosexual activists in the hallways.

It was a shocking and disheartening turnaround. And it was the result of a full-court press by the homosexual lobby that included the pressure, bribes, sleaze, and everything in between.

Wave after wave of pressure, bribes, etc.

According to several people in the State House that week, the Democratic Governor and his allies not only threatened pro-family legislators of both parties with funding cuts for their pet projects, but promised that if they switched positions "we'll make sure you have a job when you leave office."

The Governor recruited high-profile pro-homosexual marriage Republicans such as Dick Cheney, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman (who is an "out" homosexual) to personally call conservative Republican legislators to pressure them to switch their votes, according to press reports. A lot of these heavy-handed calls were made, we were told.

On the pro-family side, it was reported that the Vatican called various pro-marriage Catholic Delegates to persuade them to hold the line.

One tactic the leadership used successfully was to add amendments to mollify certain concerns of borderline Delegates, to make them switch their votes. One amendment delays implementation until after the petition drive, for instance. Another states that, if any part of the law is “held invalid for any reason in a court of competent jurisdiction,” the entire law shall be made null and void. Another pushes the effective date of the law even further out until after the November elections. All of these worked to make borderline pro-family Delegates flip their votes for same-sex "marriage." So much for principle. Deals were being made right and left, we were told.

Other pro-family Delegates tried to delay the vote by introducing amendments that would require debate, etc. But the leadership simply threw out most of them, and actually speeded up the process by manipulating the rules to squeeze to "legal" days of the session into one calendar day.

In addition, throughout the week, hordes of homosexual activists roamed the halls of the State House. The brainwashing and intimidation never let up. Thouth there was a great cadre of dedicated pro-family activists, it was tough to match it. And unfortunately, the massive pro-family church pressure, robo-calls, etc., from last year's successful fight weren't done this year.

Between the strong-arm tactics and everything else, a total of nine pro-family Delegates switched their votes over the last two weeks, according to press reports. It was devastating, and a spectacular display of political cowardice and lack of principle. One of the most outrageous flips was Delegate Tiffany Alston, who voted against the bill in committee and admits that her district opposes it, and even says she'll work for a referendum to repeal it. But she flipped after they put in an amendment for her (which delays implementation somewhat). She told the press that she voted for it because she wants the state to move past the issue and get on to other business.

The House floor debate: Strong "Bible-thumping",
but too little too late

One interesting thing was that although the pro-family "establishment" ordered their people not to use "Bible-thumping" in their testimony, the floor debate in the House of Delegates contained a lot of it! A great many of the pro-family Delegates had no qualms of referencing Scripture in very bold terms — stronger than just about anything we'd heard in the hearings. But it was too little too late. By that time, the votes, unfortunately, were already decided and it was all over but the counting.

4. On to the Senate. What happens now . . .

The Senate is considered easy ground for the bill. The votes are currently there to pass it. Although the Senate President (a Democrat) strongly opposes it, he has indicated he will not stop it.

Could all that change this week? We'll see. Last year after the bill passed the Senate, the House seemed to be a sure thing, and then it got beat there. The pro-family forces are definitely re-grouping.

In particular, Protect Marriage Maryland activists are not giving up, and are stepping up the fight in the Senate. At least now, they understand than ever that the "moderate" approach is a sure loser that should never have been accepted by pro-family activists. It's time for truth, not posturing.

And the general feeling is that no one wants it to go to a referendum. People are just too drained after two years of fighting. It needs to end here. We'll see what happens this week.