The Maryland Senate on Wednesday gave a
gay marriage bill its preliminary okay.
After a short and highly focused
debate, senators voted 25 to 22 to advance the bill. A final vote
could come as early as Thursday. The House has scheduled a hearing
on its version of the bill for Friday.
Republicans offered 11 amendments aimed
mostly at strengthening the bill's protections for religious
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller,
who voted against the bill, had scheduled a full day for debate but
the vote came shortly before 1PM.
Senate Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs, a
Republican, said she expects an anticipated filibuster attempt to
fail. Governor Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign the bill into
law, which would make Maryland the sixth state to legalize the
of marriage equality have promised to mount a campaign to repeal the
law, if approved by lawmakers.
Over the weekend, the chairman of the
Maryland Republican Party mounted a campaign against gay marriage by
targeting Democrats who favor its legalization. Alex
Mooney's rallying cry, however, excluded Senator Allan H. Kittleman,
a Republican from Howard, who has stated he'll vote in favor of the
Also on Wednesday, Hawaii
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law that recognizes gay
and lesbian couples with civil unions, and President
Obama announced he believes the federal gay marriage ban is