- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 29, 2007

ANNAPOLIS — A group of homosexual lawmakers — including a potential successor to House Speaker Michael E. Busch, has formed a caucus to advance issues such as same-sex “marriage” and expanded health care benefits for same-sex partners.

The four-member caucus includes Delegate Maggie McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat considered a legitimate candidate to succeed Mr. Busch.

“I think that she will get strong consideration, and she’s done an excellent job here,” said Mr. Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat. “People judge people on talent.”

Miss McIntosh would be the first woman and openly homosexual presiding officer in the state General Assembly, though she downplays talk of becoming speaker.

“I’m not actively looking,” she said. “My hope is there’s not a vacancy for a very long time.”

The New York City Council recently elected its first openly homosexual speaker, though it is not clear whether Miss McIntosh would become the country’s first openly homosexual presiding officer in a state legislature.

The informal caucus meets once or twice during an assembly session, and includes Miss McIntosh, Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., Delegate Anne Kaiser and Delegate Heather R. Mizeur, Montgomery County Democrats.

“Overall, it was a very productive session for our community,” Mr. Madaleno, Maryland’s first openly homosexual state senator, wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “While we were not able to get all of our initiatives passed, we prevented demeaning legislation from becoming law.”

The e-mail touts the passage of expanded health care benefits for homosexual partners and the defeat of the bill that would have asked the voters whether to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between only one man and one woman.

“The most important and pressing issue continues to be the pending Court of Appeals decision on marriage equality in Maryland,” Mr. Madaleno writes in the e-mail.

“The ruling could come at any moment, which has left many in Annapolis anxious as to whether a special session on our budget issues could also focus on legislative action on marriage equality.”

Homosexual “marriage” supporters and opponents are waiting on a ruling that would determine whether homosexuals could legally “marry” in Maryland.

“It can be divisive, depending on how it’s handled, and has proven to be tough for many folks,” Miss McIntosh said.

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