Things aren’t looking good in Wisconsin, where early this morning the state Assembly passed a bill that would strip public employees of the right to collectively bargain for benefits. The bill now moves on to the Wisconsin Senate, where all fourteen Democratic senators have fled the state rather than allow a vote to take place.
Here in Maryland things are a bit brighter. Despite our own budget problems, there is no serious effort to rob state employees of their collective bargaining rights. Instead, our legislature is on the verge of extending rights to a long-neglected demographic: yesterday the state Senate passed a bill recognizing same-sex marriage. The bill passed 25-21, with twenty-four Democrats and one Republican (Allan Kittleman of Howard County — bravo to you, sir) voting for it. The senator representing my district, the useless, clueless, and hopeless Christopher Shank, voted against the bill.
Despite the self-exile of the Democrats, passage of the Wisconsin bill seems inevitable. The Republicans are determined to balance their state’s budget on the backs of working people, and given their majority control of the legislature there isn’t much that can be done to stop them if they persist and refuse to compromise. The bill to recognize same-sex marriage here in Maryland, on the other hand, looks like a good bet to pass, and be signed into law by Governor O’Malley. Opponents of the bill are threatening to put same-sex marriage on the ballot as a public referendum in 2012, but that’s a bridge we’ll cross then. Hopefully, if presented with the choice, my fellow Marylanders will not choose to rob citizens of our state of rights that should have been theirs all along.