I'm in the packed hearing room. At this point we have a parade of black pastors explaining their objections to SB116. "A sleeping giant" one of them said.
In the first hour's panel, many, many lawyers claimed that this bill would protect both religious freedom and civil marriage. That's what the title claims.
But Prof. Robin Fretwell Wilson's testimony blew them out of the room, by pointing out that every other state that has passed a gay marriage bill has included more conscience protection than this bill and that offering conscience exemptions is perfectly consistent with Maryland and U.S. anti-discrimination principles.
I was watching the pro-SSM legislators faces. They were paying attention.
I was also amused by the conservative GOP woman (I didn't catch her name) who testified that gay marriage is a conservative position; and that "no republican legislator had lost his or her seat for voting for same-sex marriage."
Some pretty outdated Human Rights Campaign (HRC) talking points, after the last election.