The debate over whether to legalize gay
marriage in Rhode Island and Maryland returns to the front burner
In Rhode Island, the House Judiciary
Committee which is considering the legislation held an
eight-and-a-half-hour hearing on the issue early last month and could
vote on the measure as early as Thursday, the same day a Senate panel
is expected to begin debate on its version of the bill, the
Providence Journal reported.
House Speaker Gordon D. Fox said the
proposal enjoys “strong support” in the House and that he would
like to move along the legislation to make way for debate on the
state budget and other issues.
“I'd like to get something done
sooner with marriage equality so that we can move on to those
discussions,” Fox, who is openly gay, said. “How soon? That's
going to depend on how soon I can get done laying my groundwork.”
The Maryland House is expected to take
up the gay marriage bill approved two weeks ago by the Senate.
Last week, the
bill narrowly escaped the House Judiciary Committee after two members
altered their votes.
Backers in the House concede they
remain 4 votes shy of the majority needed to send the bill to the
governor’s desk, but insist they will win with the help of
several on-the-fence lawmakers.
Opponents in Maryland have promised a
referendum on the law, if approved by lawmakers.