Another day, another win for our side. Only minutes ago, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a marriage equality bill by a 71-67 vote, reports the Baltimore Sun.
The Civil Marriage Protection Act passed the House with support from a Prince George’s County lawmaker who helped kill the bill last year by walking out of a voting session. The House passage puts Maryland on the verge of being the eighth state to allow gay nuptials. The legislation still must be taken up in the Senate, which last year passed a similar bill and is expected do so again. The chamber will likely debate it next week.
The House vote is a major win for O’Malley, who threw the weight of his office behind the measure after a similar bill fell a few votes short in the House last year. The governor had been working the halls of the House office building at all hours to convince wavering delegates.
The bill passed by the narrowest of margins—71 votes were needed for passage. The bill heads to the Senate where passage is likely. However, the legislation is likely to be challenged by a referendum.
Prince Georges County Del. Tiffany Alston provided the final and critical vote, reports the Washington Blade.
The House of Delegates [adopted] one amendment by former marriage foe Del. Tiffany Alston. The Alston amendment, supported by many in the LGBT delegation, as well as the bill sponsor, floor leader Del. Dumais, would make clear that the law would not go into effect until all legal challenge, or any referendum process relating to the law, have been exhausted. ... The Alston amendment passed easily 81-52, easing the way for those troubled by the bill to feel more comfortable in voting in its favor.
Bravo to Del. Alston for her compromise and for her vote. The Democrat initially co-sponsored last year's bill but later helped kill it by walking out of session.