Gay rights bill killed in committee Measure perishes with 5-4 vote STATE HOUSE REPORT

January 29, 1993|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,Staff Writer

An article in yesterday's editions on the death of a bill to ba discrimination against homosexuals reported the vote total incorrectly. The tally was 6-5 against the bill.

The Sun regrets the errors.

The day after hearing from more than 40 supporters of a measure that would ban discrimination against homosexuals in the state, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee killed the measure on a 5-4 vote.

"I think the committee chairman wanted to get it voted on quickly because he was afraid we might be able to get one more vote if we had more time," said Robert Healy of the Free State Justice Coalition, a civil rights group that orchestrated Wednesday testimony.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

But committee Chairman Walter M. Baker said the quick vote was simply a matter of moving along the Senate's business.

"We just finished up early this afternoon [yesterday] and decided to vote on the bills we heard [Wednesday]," the Cecil County Democrat said. "I asked if anyone wanted to delay the vote but no one did."

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Janice Piccinini, D-Baltimore County, who saw a similar measure fail last year on a 6-4 vote in this committee. A change by Sen. John A. Pica, D-Baltimore, made this year's tally closer.

"Last year, I didn't think they demonstrated that homosexuals were discriminated against," Mr. Pica said of his change. "But the testimony clearly showed that was the case this year."

But Mr. Baker was not convinced. "You can't legislate morality," he said of his "no" vote. "Homosexuals have full rights under the constitution and if they have problems, they should go to court. The problem is man's inhumanity to man."

Also voting against the bill were Frederick C. Malkus Jr., D-Dorchester, Habern W. Freeman, D-Harford, Philip C. Jimeno, D-Anne Arundel, Norman R. Stone Jr., D-Baltimore County, and Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll.

In addition to Mr. Pica, F. Vernon Boozer, R-Baltimore County, Nancy L. Murphy, D-Baltimore County, Mary Boergers, D-Montgomery county, and Ralph M. Hughes, D-Baltimore, voted favor.

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