Maryland Slaps Domestic Victims in Face

A bill that would have made it easier for domestic violence victims to obtain protective orders against their abusers has failed in the Maryland House Judiciary Committee. According to The Washington Post , “H.B. 700 would have brought Maryland into conformance with the practices of every other state in the country.”

The bill would have replaced the current Maryland standard that victims must offer “clear and convincing evidence” in order to gain a protective order, rather than a “preponderance of the evidence.” Maryland, the Post pointed out, is the only state using this higher standard.

The failure of the Maryland House to lower the standard–and thus better protect the abused, who are generally women–is a slap in the face to all who have suffered at the hands of partners and can’t get the help they need.

Protective orders can be lifesavers; the lack of them can be deadly. Take the case of Mark Anthony Castillo.  The Montgomery County, Maryland, man drowned his three children in a hotel bathroom after his wife was not given a protective order despite his threats against the children.

Want to let Maryland legislators know how you feel about their decision? Here’s a list of those who voted against and for this important and necessary bill:

Against making it easier to obtain a protective order:

Curtis S. Anderson (D-Baltimore), Benjamin S. Barnes (D-Prince George’s), Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore), Frank M. Conaway Jr. (D-Baltimore), Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel), William J. Frank (R-Baltimore County), J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore County), Kevin Kelly (D-Allegany), Gerron S. Levi (D-Prince George’s), Tony McConkey (R-Anne Arundel), Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s), Samuel I. Rosenberg (D-Baltimore), Todd L. Schuler (D-Baltimore County), Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery) and Michael D. Smigiel Sr. (R-Cecil)

For:

Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Montgomery), Benjamin F. Kramer (D-Montgomery), Susan C. Lee (D-Montgomery), Susan McComas (R-Harford), Kriselda Valderrama (D-Prince George’s) and Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery)

About

Elizabeth Black is an erotic romance and sex writer who lives on the Massachusetts coast next to the ocean with her husband and four cats. Her articles have appeared in Sex Is Magazine and Alternet. She was the sex columnist for the UK pop culture ezine nuts4chic. Visit her blog at http://trishwilson.typepad.com/blog. Her RomanceWiki page is located at http://www.romancewiki.com/Elizabeth_Black. In the past, she wrote about family law and child custody issues with her real name, Trish Wilson. Trish's articles have appeared in On The Issues, off our backs, Feminista!, Alternet, Blogcritics, American Politics Journal, and Sojourner.