Stonewall Democrats criticize Ehrlich election year ploy

January 23, 2006

Governor Robert Ehrlich of Maryland
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Stonewall Democrats are criticizing Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich of Maryland for introducing legislation that would weaken efforts to pass comprehensive partnership benefits in the state. Governor Ehrlich introduced the legislation last Thursday, a day in which Maryland Democrats changed statehouse rules to make it more difficult for Republicans to introduce anti-gay legislation.

"A bridal registry at Target would offer same-sex couples more benefits than this watered-down, election year ploy by Governor Ehrlich. It is simply an attempt to keep the Medical Decision Making Act from being sent to his desk again," said Eric Stern, NSD Executive Director, referring to legislation Ehrlich vetoed in 2005. "While Governor Ehrlich plays politics in an effort to stop his plummeting poll numbers, we'll continue to work with Maryland Democrats on passing substantive legislation this session.."

Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich introduced legislation on Thursday to create an Internet registry allowing Maryland residents to designate any individual to make medical decisions for them. However, the registry proposed by Ehrlich would not change state law to guarantee the 11 protections of the Medical Decision Making Act. Ehrlich vetoed the measure in 2005, claiming that granting a full-range of basic protections would undermine "traditional marriage." Democrats in Maryland criticized the Governor's legislation as inadequate.

Maryland Democrats also changed the procedural rules of the House of Delegates to make it more difficult to attach controversial constitutional amendments to existing legislation. The move was a direct response to Republican efforts in 2005 to attach an anti-marriage constitutional amendment to a bill pending before the statehouse. Maryland Republicans immediately attacked the Democratic leadership for making it more difficult for the GOP to attach anti-gay measures to unrelated legislation.

"Maryland Democrats realize that the only institutions that anti-marriage amendments seek to protect are the political careers of the politicians who push them," said Stern. "Democrats in Maryland have extended an example of leadership that should be emulated by our party leaders in neighboring states."

National Stonewall Democrats is currently asking its members in Virginia to contact the office of Governor Tim Kaine to urge opposition to an anti-marriage amendment in the commonwealth. The amendment, already passed by the Virginia House of Delegates, would be sent to the Governor for certification if it passes the state senate. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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