The following email went out to all supporters of the Capitol Coalition for Adoptee Rights on March 30, 2021.
The Maryland Senate heard SB0331 last night, and it did not end well. The straight vote was 31-16 against approval of the Judicial Proceedings committee report. That ended the bill’s life this session.
The numbers, however, did not tell the complete story. We were absolutely stunned by the misinformation, lies, and demonizing of adopted people during debate on the bill. It was one of the harshest treatment of adoptees and an equal rights bill we have ever seen. But it was not a rebuke on the merits. Rather, a handful of senators talked about how adoptees cannot be trusted with their own information, why we must protect secret birthparents from revealing their past “indiscretions,” and how DNA is not even effective in identifying close relatives. You can watch the proceedings here, but a warning in advance: it will likely make you angry and dispirited.
We are thankful, however, for Senator Susan Lee’s forceful presentation and defense of the bill. Senator Dolores Kelley spoke eloquently about the right to know who you are, and Senator Cory McCray talked about the importance of having one’s full identity, specifically for one his constituents.
We will be taking the time to rest, reset, and talk about what the future may be for equal rights legislation in Maryland. We may try to call attention to how inappropriate the debate was. And it may be that we now put pressure on the District of Columbia or Virginia to change their laws, with Maryland to follow. We don’t know yet, but we will be back in touch.
You have been terrific in supporting all that we’ve done, which included a flurry of activity from us to senators in the days before last night’s vote. We thank all of you for your help. It was meaningful, strong, and it made a difference. We just couldn’t overcome misinformation and a troubling display of animosity toward adopted people.
Susie Stricker and Peggy Klappenberger
Capitol Coalition for Adoptee Rights