PHOTO: Maryland Senate Vote Board via Equality Maryland
Another day, another win for our side. The Maryland legislature has approved HB 438, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, after a 25-22 Senate vote. The House of Delegates passed the bill last Friday.
The vote makes Maryland the eighth state to approve marriage equality and the fourth state legislature to do so in the past 12 months.
Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has vowed to sign the bill "within a week" but significant obstacles remain, notes the Baltimore Sun.
Even supporters concede that the law will likely be petitioned to referendum, and they expect Maryland voters to have the final say in November. The legislation has an effective date of January 2013 — well after the November election. Recent polls have shown that Marylanders are evenly split on the issue, so it is difficult to predict what will happen at the ballot box.
Six states currently mandate marriage equality—Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York—as does the District of Columbia. Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed legislation to make Washington the seventh state only ten days ago. That legislation is also expected is to head to the ballot in a voter referendum.