A majority of Maryland senators have
pledged their support for a gay marriage bill, giving backers a huge
boost on Valentine's Day, the Washington Post reported.
In less than a week backers have won
over three undecided senators and one opponent to their side.
In interviews Monday with the Post,
Democratic Senators Katherine A. Klausmeier and Edward J. Kasemeyer,
both from Baltimore County, announced they would support the measure.
“I think it's the fair thing to do,”
Klausmeier said. “I just weighed all the options. I think it's
Kasemeyer was more pragmatic, saying he
doesn't “see how you can deny [gay couples] the right” to marry.
The announcement of new support arrived
as hundreds of gay marriage backers rallied at the Statehouse and
delivered Valentine's Day carnations to lawmakers.
Forty-six-year-old Senator James
Brochin was the first senator to switch camps. The sophomore senator
said he reconsidered his opposition to gay marriage 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 that the word “marriage” was a “stumbling block”
“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 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?”
Passage of the bill in the Senate,
however, is not guaranteed. Backers need 29 votes to end a
filibuster in the chamber. They have a minimum majority of 24.
In the House, which has yet to hold a
hearing on the bill, Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve, who introduced
the measure, said he was “pretty confident” the bill would pass
in his chamber.