Gay Marriage is on the agenda as
Maryland's 2011 legislative session opened on Wednesday.
The odds that Maryland will become the
next state to legalize gay marriage have increased significantly with
the Democratic pickup of two Senate seats on November 2 and a shift
in committee memberships.
Previous attempts to legalize gay
unions have suffered setbacks in the Senate's Judicial Proceedings
Committee, but new assignments have boosted the number of supporters
on the 11-member panel to six, paving the way for such a bill to
reach the Democrat-controlled Senate floor.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller,
a Democrat who opposes gay marriage, signed off on the committee
“I believe every important issue
should be voted on by the full chamber at least once,” he told the
Senator Richard S. Madaleno, an openly
gay Democrat who has sponsored gay marriage legislation and plans to
push for its approval in this session, hailed the changes.
“I could not have hoped for a better
result,” he told the paper. “You can see a real path to enacting
Governor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat,
has pledged to sign a gay marriage bill into law if approved by
National Organization for Marriage
President Brian Brown suggested that backers were feeling the heat
from a recent string of GOP gains that have ushered new talk of banning
– or repealing – gay marriage in New
“I think supporters of redefining
marriage are looking [at] any place they can gain ground,” he told
the Christian Post.
Brown also vowed to work to repeal the
law if approved.
“In every state where the people had
the chance to vote, in both deep blue and deep red states, they have
voted against same-sex marriage,” he said.
Gay marriage is legal in five states –
Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont – and
the District of Columbia.
that would legalize gay marriage has already been introduced in Rhode
lawmakers are set to consider civil unions.