The effort to legalize gay marriage in
Maryland is effectively dead for this year.
After nearly three hours of passionate
debate, the Maryland House decided on Friday to return the bill to
committee, effectively killing the effort.
Democratic leaders conceded they moved
to shelve the legislation after concluding Thursday night that the
measure wouldn't survive a House vote.
“I fully expect to see a bill come in
front of the Maryland House of Delegates next year,” Democratic
House Speaker Michael E. Busch told reporters on Friday. “This is
a distance run, not a sprint. … We never asked anyone to support
this bill unless they felt comfortable with it.”
Supporters fought off four amendments
on Wednesday and another two on Friday.
The House's seven openly gay delegates
implored colleagues to vote for the bill.
“It's love that makes a family, but
it's marriage that protects it,” Delegate
Heather R. Mizeur, who is legally married to Deborah Mizeur, told
lawmakers. “Do the right thing: cast your vote in favor of
Delegate Luke H. Clippinger pleaded:
“Today I ask you for your vote to make me a whole citizen of this
Supporters blamed the loss on the
House's November 2 shift to the right.
Delegate Anne R. Kaiser, a Democrat
from Montgomery, told the Washington Post that the chamber had
lost five or six pro-gay marriage Democrats last year.
Brian Brown, president of the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous
opponent of gay marriage, cheered the news on Twitter: “Hero of the
day, Maryland Delegate Emmett Burns called n word for opposing gay
marriage. Stands tall.”
After Maryland decided to recognize the
out-of-state marriages of gay couples last year, Burns called the
opinion “a bucket of warm spit.”