A gay marriage bill cleared the
Maryland House of Delegates on Friday with the help of several
lawmakers who were previously opposed.
According to The
Washington Post, supporters believed they had the 71 votes
needed for passage. But two days before the vote, Democratic
Delegate Veronica L. Turner, a supporter of the legislation, was
rushed to the hospital and would not be present on Friday to vote.
Two Democrats previously opposed to the
legislation – Delegates John L. Bohanan and Tiffany Alston – said
they voted in favor of the bill to allow the issue to go to
referendum. Opponents have vowed to put the issue on the ballot, if
approved by lawmakers.
Bohanan texted House Speaker Michael E.
Busch at 6AM on Friday to say that he would vote for the measure.
“Once I began to look at this through
the eyes off my own kids and other young people, it became pretty
clear,” the father of four sons told the paper. “You want them
to have love, and if that's how they want to express it, you want
them to be able to do it openly.”
Alston, who retreated from her support
last year after an intense lobbying effort from opponents, said on
the House floor that she was voting for the legislation to allow the
people of Maryland to vote on the issue in a referendum.
Republican Delegate Wade Kach, who just
days earlier voted against the measure in committee, told colleagues
that his mind was changed during that committee's hearing.
Kach said he was touched by the
testimony of a lesbian couple who were barred from sharing custody of
“As a pro-life legislator, I believe
that it is my responsibility to make certain that children are taken
care of. This child, if this couple were to be able to have a civil
marriage, would be taken care of. This child would have the rights
that a child of a traditional married couple would have. So, I left
that hearing a changed person,” he said.
The measure cleared the chamber with 72
votes. It now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.
calls on Maryland Senate to reject gay marriage.)