Another day and another win for our side. After granting its initial approval on Wednesday, today the Maryland Senate approved the Civil Marriage Protection Act was 25 to 21. The measure now moves to the House and the debate is expected to be "volatile," reports the Baltimore Sun.
Discussion in the House of Delegates is set to begin Friday, with a committee hearing that could be far more rancorous than anything the Senate has seen. Del. Don Dwyer, an Anne Arundel County Republican and a chief opponent of the legislation, promised this week to "take off the gloves" when he discusses gay marriage. His bill to outlaw recognition of any union not between a man and a woman, also is slated to be heard Friday.
[A]pproval in Maryland's House is far from assured. The same-sex marriage bill in that chamber has 58 sponsors; 71 votes are needed for passage. And, if it is passed, it will almost certainly be petitioned to referendum, giving voters the final say.
Some debate became very personal, reports Deseret News.
The only Republican to support gay marriage, Sen. Allan Kittleman, R-Howard, recalled his father's work with the black community during the civil rights movement. Kittleman, who is white, said his father would invite leaders from the NAACP and other civil rights groups to his house when he was growing up in the 1960s.
"We lived in a very white neighborhood, and we'd have the leaders of the African American community coming to our house talking and I would go to my neighbors' later, I'd go see my friends and their parents would come to me and say 'Allan, why do all those black people come to your house?'" Kittleman said. Granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples might not be the same as the civil rights movement, Kittleman said, but "it's the right thing to do."
If passed, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has promised to 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.