A gay marriage bill cleared two
committees in the Maryland House of Delegates on Tuesday, gay weekly
Members of the Judiciary Committee and
the Health & Government Relations Committee heard public
testimony on the measure last week during a joint session that ran
well into the night. The bill cleared the committees with a 25-to-18
vote, with one abstention.
A similar bill passed the Senate last
year and narrowly cleared the Judiciary Committee before it fizzled
in the House.
Governor Martin O'Malley, who sponsored
the bill as part of his legislative package, cheered the move.
“Today's vote on the Civil Marriage
Protection Act is a significant step forward for the passage of this
bill in Maryland,” he said in a statement. “Together, we will
continue our work to ensure that our state protects religious freedom
and provides equal protection under the law for all Marylanders.”
O'Malley also testified in favor of
marriage equality during hearings in the House and Senate.
At a rally Monday in Annapolis,
O'Malley said that the measure remained “a couple” of votes shy
in the House.
“We need a couple more votes and
people always make their decisions against deadlines,” O'Malley
Also on Tuesday, Republican Delegate
Robert Costa announced his support for the measure.
“I think it's not a state function to
decide who can marry,” he told the Annapolis
Capital. “I do what I believe is right for people. I
don't think that matters. I represent constituents and not a party.”