April 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm EDT | by Harley Dennett
Local news in brief

Gansler dodges impeachment attempt

Saber-rattling from Maryland Republicans against Attorney General Douglas Gansler’s same-sex marriage ruling, including calls for impeachment and state funding cuts for agencies that recognize out-of-state marriage licenses, have so far amounted to nothing.

Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel) demanded a House floor vote on his resolution to impeach Gansler, but was denied by Speaker Michael Busch, who acted on advice from the parliamentarian that any resolution should be referred to the House Judiciary Committee first.

Only delegates were permitted to speak at a hastily arranged hearing at 3 p.m. March 31, but Dwyer declined to speak to the substance of the impeachment charges, saying to do so would legitimize what he labeled a “kangaroo court.”

Dwyer, a Judiciary Committee member, instead used his allotted time to declare that he would bring charges against Busch.

Gansler did not attend the hearing, but Democratic delegates on the committee defended him and his marriage opinion during their allotted times.

The committee voted 17-5 that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with impeachment. A second vote was held to dismiss the resolution.

Later that day, Equality Maryland operated a phone bank to persuade delegates to oppose Dwyer’s announced state budget amendment to cut funding for recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses. Ultimately, no such amendment was presented before either legislative chamber.

“We’re pretty confident this is over for now,” said Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Equality Maryland’s executive director.

A committee hearing on House Bill 462, which would add LGBT non-discrimination protections for teachers in public schools, was scheduled for Wednesday, after DC Agenda deadline. To become law, the bill must pass the Senate before April 12.


Hearing set for suspect in gay man’s murder

More information surrounding the murder of a gay man inside his car in Southeast D.C. is expected to surface during a court hearing this month for the 20-year-old man arrested in the case.

Police on March 12 charged Antwan Holcomb of D.C. with first-degree murder while armed in connection with the shooting death of Anthony Perkins, 29, on the 2900 block of Fourth Street, S.E.

Police said Perkins was pronounced dead on the scene around 5:15 a.m. Dec. 27 after neighbors reported hearing gunshots. Officers found Perkins unconscious inside his car, which had steam billowing from its engine.

A friend of Perkins said the man might have been the target of a thug who had been “terrorizing” the Congress Heights neighborhood. Rev. Anthony Motley, a D.C. minister running for an at-large seat on the D.C. City Council and a longtime friend of Perkins, said a mutual friend told him that the killing might be linked to a man believed to be responsible for a string of robberies that Perkins learned about.

“It is said that the individual Anthony knew who was robbing people had become paranoid that Anthony would talk [to police],” Motley told DC Agenda in January. “It’s assumed that is why he was shot.”

Police said Holcomb was being held at the D.C. Jail on an unrelated matter when he was charged with Perkins’ murder. Police have not said whether Holcomb is the person Perkins’ friend believes was robbing people in the neighborhood where Perkins was killed.

Holcomb, who is being held without bond, is scheduled to appear in D.C. Superior Court on April 21. Prosecutors could at that time outline the evidence that police obtained linking him to the murder.


Md. group steps up gay marriage support

The Maryland Black Family Alliance is taking a more public profile in the fight for same-sex marriage.

“We wanted to make sure that people know who we are what we stand for,” said Lea Gilmore, one of the group’s founders. “We want it known that there is significant and organized support in Maryland’s black communities for marriage equality and LGBT civil justice.”

Gilmore said to counter the perception that there are no visible straight black allies in the LGBT civil rights movement, MBFA recently conducted a photo shoot outside Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Baltimore.

“The images will be included in ads that will appear in our very respected African-American local and regional media,” Gilmore said. “We will do a broader campaign in the near future.”

The ads, funded by the Human Rights Campaign, are intended to illustrate black support for same-sex marriage and LGBT civil rights issues.

“As African Americans, we more than most know the pain that injustice causes,” Gilmore said, “so we hope with these ads to galvanize even more organized support for equality.”


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