Metro Weekly

Anti-gay Maryland legislator, Emmett Burns, moves again to cut off recognition of out-of-state gay marriages

”The issue is knocking on our doors…. People will be flying over here, wanting to force us to accept their marriage licenses. Our back door is open, and it needs to be closed…. Anybody can love whoever they want to love, but that doesn’t rise to status of marriage…. There is a line we ought not to cross, and this is it.” — (Baltimore Sun)

”I’ve fought this fight over the last 12 years…. Now with Washington D.C. approving (same-sex marriage), it’s needed more than ever.” (Explore Baltimore County)

Recent quotes from Emmett C Burns, a Maryland Delegate from Baltimore County He has introduced a bill to stop the Maryland government from recognizing legal, out-of-state, same-sex marriages. The Attorney General, Doug Gansler, is reportedly studying that issue. Though Burns has been a Member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 1995, it’s not clear what his suburban constituents appreciate about his performance since the school systems in District 10 have been plagued for most of his time with reports of violence and poor performance, commercial hubs like Security Square Mall have declined dramatically, and roadways like Liberty Road have become overwhelmed with congestion. District 10 is located on the west side of Baltimore. Maryland currently restricts marriages performed within the state to that of one man and woman, and it is thought that there is not yet enough support to bring marriage equality to a legislative vote. The Governor, Martin O’Malley, has remarked in the past that he is in support of civil unions, but said in June that the state should respect the rights a couple would have in another state.

”I’m against gay marriage through and through, no exception,” said Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baptist minister, who called the Black Family Alliance ”a loose confederation of individuals talking loosely…. Equating homosexuality and civil rights are not an equation as far as I’m concerned,” said Burns (D-Dist. 10) of Woodlawn, one of the General Assembly’s most vocal gay rights opponents. ”Whites can hide their sexual preferences and still get all of the rights that society has to offer. I can’t hide my blackness and get the rights that I’m due, so to say that this is a civil rights issue upsets me to no end.”

Emmett C. Burns, Maryland Delegate from the Woodlawn area of Baltimore County from a 2007 article that appeared in the Gazette. Here you can see Burns is expressing his rather racist and totally wrong-headed inference that being gay is 1) undesirable and something to hide; and 2) homosexuality applies to white people. Burns’ District 10 is home to one of the highest percentages of African-American residents in Baltimore County. (

”I don’t want to improve the chances for someone who is of the gay persuasion to ply their behavior.”

According to the Williams Institute this quote was attributed to Emmett C. Burns in 2000, when the Maryland Legislature was about to pass an anti-discrimination law. It illustrates Burns’ proud and long history of battling against equality for gay men and lesbians. He introduced, this past week, a bill to block any recognition of legally sanctioned same-sex marriages from outside Maryland. (Williams Institute)

The state currently restricts marriage at this time: “Only a marriage between a man and woman is valid in this State.” That law, Section 2-201, has been in effect since 1973 when it became the first law to define marriage. Civil marriages were not permitted until 1963 according the Maryland State Archives — apparently they had to be religiously sanctioned. And a purely racist, anti-miscegenation law that banned marriage between white women and black men was on the books for 300 years — not repealed until 1967. In 2006, a judge determined that Section 2-201 was unconstitutional, but the Court of Appeals narrowly struck down that decision. Another bill in 2008 seems to have lost steam after it’s Senator sponsor Gwendolyn Britt passed away suddenly of a heart-related ailment.

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JD Uy has been a Metro Weekly webmaster, distribution manager, blogger and videographer since 2002.

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