The Washington Post reports "a bare majority" of Maryland's state senators "have said publicly that they will vote" for SB 116, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.
The deciding vote: Joan Carter Conway, a veteran Baltimore Democrat.
In interviews Monday, two more senators said they intended to vote for the bill, increasing the number who have made such commitments to 24 - the bare majority needed for passage in the 47-member Senate - according to an ongoing Washington Post tally. The Post's count of 24 senators includes one - Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore) - who has said she will not vote for the bill if she believes it will fail. Conway told The Post last week that she "would pray real hard" and vote for the bill if hers was the deciding vote. Still, it is clear that the legislation, which has stalled in previous years, has considerable momentum.
More on Carter Conway's decision at the Baltimore Sun:
She is uncertain whether she can make the leap to backing gay marriage. She finds herself torn between her religious background and her sympathies for minority groups. As a black woman, she said, she views herself as a "double minority" — and so is uncomfortable with casting a vote that would cause anyone to feel subjected to discrimination.
Conway said her district, which includes Ednor Gardens, Waverly, Guilford and other North Baltimore neighborhoods, is about evenly split on the issue. The three delegates in her district are co-sponsoring the House version of the legislation.
On Monday, two previously uncommitted state senators presented a Valentine's Day gift to marriage equality supporters.
"I think it's the fair thing to do," said Sen. Katherine A. Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County), who said she had gone back and forth on the bill a few times. "I just weighed all the options. I think it's fairness." Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer (D-Baltimore County) also voiced support for the bill in an interview Monday, saying, "I don't see how you can deny the right" to gay couples to marry.
If the Senate passes passes SB 116, the bill moves to the House where supporters are "confident" they have a majority.
If passed, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he would sign the bill. Maryland would join five other states and the District of Columbia to allow same-sex marriages. Since February 2010, Maryland has recognized valid same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.