The Baltimore Sun on the defeat of SSM in Maryland and the "mass mobilization of black churches"


Over the weekend, Annie Linskey and Julie Bykowicz of the Baltimore Sun published a lengthy and detailed story about the defeat of same-sex marriage in Maryland, which surprised many who believed it to be a "done deal":

Failure of same-sex marriage casts doubt on measure's future

When the state Senate passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage last month, supporters and some opponents believed the controversial legislation had cleared its highest hurdle, and had the momentum to reach the governor's desk.

The failure of the measure to find the necessary support in the traditionally more liberal House of Delegates caught both sides by surprise — and sets up the lower chamber as the new battleground.

Opponents of same-sex marriage say the House's decision not to vote on the bill seals its fate through the rest of lawmakers' four-year terms. They predict that the move will have an impact on lawmakers in other states now considering whether to allow same-sex couples to marry.

"This was a big victory," said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. "We were told that this is a done deal, same-sex marriage will pass. If you look back a few months ago, I don't think anyone would have predicted this."

Advocates for gay marriage now say they underestimated the impact of the November election on the makeup of the House. Six Democrats —- including five who had supported same-sex marriage — lost or gave up their seats. And advocates didn't anticipate the mass mobilization of black churches, which began preaching against the legislation and urging parishioners to contact their lawmakers.

More on the outpouring of activity from the black churches:

African-American churches proved another forceful voice of opposition.

"Black churches have never asked us for anything," Del. Cheryl Glenn said during Friday's debate. "They are asking us now, 'Don't use the word marriage.'"

Del. Talmadge Branch said his pastor at Israel Baptist Church in Baltimore City lobbied him heavily. The Baltimore Democrat said leaders at other churches called him out from the pulpit during services.

The Rev. Franklin Lance, pastor at Mount Lebanon Baptist Church in Baltimore, said members asked questions about gay marriage at Bible study.

"From my perspective just in talking to my congregants, we have simply been saying that we believe that marriage should be defined as man and woman," Lance said. "This is not to be negative toward or restricted toward or biased toward anyone else. We do believe that is sacred. We believe it's holy. We believe it's the first institution ordained by Christ."

McIntosh said supporters of gay marriage "have a lot of work to do in the African-American community." She said they erred in drawing parallels to the civil rights movement — a comparison that angered some black opponents.

"That is comparing apples to oranges," McIntosh said. (source)