Baltimore City

This man of his house is a man of the House


alk about identity confusion.

Gay marriage hasn't even been legalized in Maryland, but already it has state Del.

Emmett Burns

struggling to sort something out:

When it comes to homosexual couples, Burns wants to know, who wears the pants in the family?

Rob Gutro

, a gay Marylander who married his longtime partner in Connecticut last June, called Burns the other day after reading about a bill the delegate has sponsored that would prohibit Maryland from recognizing gay marriages performed elsewhere.

They had a long, civil conversation, both men said. Gutro, a meteorologist, laid out his arguments for legalizing gay marriage. Burns, a Baltimore County Democrat and minister, laid out his objections.

No minds were changed over the course of their 36-minute chat, but as it wound up, Burns popped an interesting question, which Gutro recounted on his personal blog and Burns later confirmed for me.

"So, who makes all the decisions in the house?" Burns asked. "Who is in the man's role?"

"I told him in our relationship we make decisions together," Gutro wrote. "He said, 'Someone MUST say 'No!' ... He didn't seem to get that mutual respect thing, as he said that he is the man of his house."

In a phone interview, Burns elaborated: "In a heterosexual relationship, normally the protector, the provider for the family, is the male. ... And in that role, he is a partner with his wife, and 99.9 percent of the time they will agree on whatever the issue is. But there are always times when there are disagreements. And that one-tenth of 1 percent the time, the decision is made by the provider and the protector."

There are exceptions to that breadwinner-is-boss rule, at least when the breadwinner is

Earlean Burns



When he was in school, Burns said, his wife was the provider. "When she received her compensation, we sat down and we talked about what bills would be paid, and we always agreed."

But if they had disagreed, who would have been the decider?

"I think she would have given me that privilege because I was only in that position for a short while," he said.

Isn't that sort of an old-fashioned idea, that the man rules the roost?

Said Burns: "I'm good at old-fashioned."

Hold the toast


Poe Toaster

failed to show, and now everybody in town wants the gig. What does that tell you about Baltimore's job market?

People have been dropping off booze and flowers at the writer's grave since the mysterious Poe fan was a no-show this week.

"I drove by this morning, there were about five or six various bottles of various liquors," said Poe House curator

Jeff Jerome

. "I just rolled my eyes and thought, 'Oh, no.' ... To be honest, the Poe grave looked trashy this morning. The first thing I thought of was, the grave looked [so]

Jim Morrison


A few Poe fans also called and e-mailed Jerome with offers to take on the role. The curator appreciated the sentiment but ...


"If the Poe Toaster actually stopped, if he doesn't show up in the next two years, you can't have another one," he said. "And I'm not about to be spending the night [on the lookout] for a pale imitation."

A matter of taste

Anyone can rub elbows with politicians. A $250 ticket to Del.

Joe Bartlett

's fundraiser this month got VIPs up close and personal with

Bryan Voltaggio

, the "Top Chef" runner-up and owner of Volt.

Top donors even got a tour of the kitchen, where Voltaggio took a break from butchering to meet and greet. (Meat and greet?)

And the food? Bartlett, a self-described "meat-and-potatoes kind of guy," recalled sampling tuna tartare and some very tasty "foamy things and mousse-y things." The event raised about $8,000 for the northern Frederick County Republican.

But at least they're flying

Never trust a politician. Maryland Gov.

Martin O'Malley

has made good on part of his wager with Indiana Gov.

Mitch Daniels

: Crab cakes and Smith Island cake are on their way, after the Ravens' loss to Indianapolis. But the Colts flags that are supposed to be flying from O'Malley's gubernatorial SUV? They're


Colts flags.