Friday, February 25, 2011

Maryland Senate Votes for Marriage Equality

The state of Maryland is one step closer to recognizing the legitimacy of gay and lesbian relationships as the state senate voted 25-21 Thursday to pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in The Free State. The legislation does not compel churches to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates next week.

Opponents of the proposed law are already busy garnering support and raising funds to introduce a ballot measure next year to amend the state constitution to ban marriage equality. Reports are that the trolls from NOM are hard at work across the Potomac to protect opposite marriage. Here we go again folks.

Via Metro Weekly:
The Maryland State Senate took a historic step toward marriage equality on Thursday, Feb. 24, voting in favor of a bill that would grant same-sex couples in the state legal marriage recognition, while also protecting the rights of religious institutions to handle issues of marriage however they see fit.

Senate Bill 116, The Civil Marriage Protection Act, was written by Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery), the only out gay member of Maryland's Senate, and Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery).

The third and final reading of the bill picked up from recess a few minutes after 5:40 p.m. on Feb. 24, and Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery), the bill's lead sponsor, called for a vote to limit debate to 30 minutes from each side. Shortly before 6:30 p.m., the Senate voted in favor of the bill, 25-21, followed by applause on the Senate floor.

Madaleno exited the Senate chambers hugging constituents and colleagues in excitement and celebration.

And while the marriage bill has passed a major hurdle, marriage equality in Maryland is not guaranteed. A House version of the bill is expected to be introduced in committee this week, and according to the Baltimore Sun, Del. Don H. Dwyer Jr. (R- Anne Arundel County), who is notorious for supporting anti-LGBT measures in the past, has pledged to ''take the gloves off.''

Currently there are 58 Delegates sponsoring the bill, and 71 votes are needed to pass in the House.
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