Democratic Maryland State Senator James
Brochin has reversed course on his opposition to a proposed gay
The 46-year-old sophomore senator on
Wednesday announced he was reconsidering his position after listening
to nearly 7 hours worth of testimony at a Senate committee's public
hearing on the issue.
The Baltimore County lawmaker told
reporters on Thursday that the word “marriage” was a “stumbling
block” for him.
“It's my stumbling block, and it's my
problem,” he said.
Brochin had previously supported civil
unions for gay and lesbian couples.
Brochin said on Wednesday that he found
the testimony of opponents to be “troubling.”
“The demonization of gay families
really bothers me,” Brochin said. “Are these families going to
continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens?”
Brochin's support puts gay marriage
backers within striking distance of victory in the Senate, where 21
members have now pledged their support. Twenty-four votes are needed
for passage and six Democratic senators remain on the fence.
According to a Washington Post survey, the undecided are:
John C. Astle, Joan Carter Conway, Ulysses Currie, Edward J.
Kasemeyer, Katherine A. Klausmeier and James C. Rosapepe.
Equality Maryland, the largest state
group lobbying for the bill, applauded Brochin's announcement.
“When people have the facts and hear
the real life stories from loving and committed couples hearts and
minds can and do change,” the group said.