The Maryland Senate on Thursday
approved a gay marriage bill.
After a lengthy debate, one Republican,
Senator Allan Kittleman, crossed the aisle to join 24 Democrats in
voting for the bill.
Senator Richard S. Madaleno Jr., a
Democrat and the chamber's only openly gay member, argued that giving
gay and lesbian couples the benefits of marriage is a matter of
“It provides full equality under the
law for thousands of same-gender couples in our state, couples like
Mark and myself,” he said, referring to his partner of more than a
decade, with whom he's raising two children.
Opponents of the bill suggested that
legalizing gay marriage would open the door for state recognition of
polygamous or incestuous relationships.
“Here's my question: Where does it
stop?” asked Senator C. Anthony Muse, a Democrat and a pastor.
Senator Bryan W. Simonaire, an Anne
Arundel Republican, warned that “young, impressionable students”
would be taught “the homosexual worldview” if gay marriage is
legalized, a claim used to repeal laws in California and Maine.
The bill now moves to the House,
considered the more liberal chamber on social issues. However,
supporters on Thursday acknowledged they have yet to lock down a
majority. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Governor Martin O'Malley has pledged to
sign the bill into law, which would make Maryland the sixth state to
legalize the institution.
of marriage equality have promised to mount a campaign to repeal the
law, if approved by lawmakers.