A Maryland House panel will consider a
gay marriage bill on Friday, a
day after the Senate gave its approval.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold
a hearing on the measure this afternoon.
A majority of members on the committee
support gay marriage and passage appears assured. However,
supporters on Thursday acknowledged they have yet to lock down a
majority in the House, considered the more liberal chamber on social
Governor Martin O'Malley has pledged to
sign the bill into law, which would make Maryland the sixth state to
legalize the institution.
Opponents of marriage equality,
including the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's
most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, and the Family Research
Council (FRC), have
promised to mount a campaign to repeal the law, if approved by
Analysts believe opponents could easily
put the question on next year's ballot. But supporters of marriage
equality are hoping to make Maryland the first state to vote in their
favor. Recent polls found a narrow majority (51%) of voters favor
giving gay and lesbian couples the benefits of marriage.