Maryland State Senate passes marriage equality bill

The Maryland state Senate has approved marriage equality after a Senate vote of 25-22 after a few hours of debate during which opponents attempted to add hostile amendments.. The House passed the bill last Friday.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has pledged to make Maryland the EIGHTH state with same-sex marriage.

From Gov. O’Malley: “I’d like to thank Senate President Miller for his leadership and our legislators in the Senate for their hard work and their vote today for human dignity. All children deserve the opportunity to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home, protected equally under the law. The common thread running through our efforts together in Maryland is the thread of human dignity; the dignity of work, the dignity of faith, the dignity of family, the dignity of every individual. Thanks to our elected leaders, clergy and faith-based leaders, community leaders, civic organizations, civil rights groups, and citizens from across our state, Maryland will now be able to protect individual civil marriage rights and religious freedom equally.”

Reactions from LGBT rights organizations:

Human Rights Campaign
“We could not be more grateful to the senators who today voted to make all Maryland families stronger,” said Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Today, we took another giant step toward marriage equality becoming law – and we are in this position due to the unwavering leadership and resolve of Governor O’Malley and our legislative allies, particularly Sens. Rich Madaleno, Jamie Raskin, Rob Garagiola, and Brian Frosh.” Virtually any piece of legislation, according to Maryland law, can be subject to a referendum where voters cast a ballot supporting or opposing the legislation. Opponents of marriage equality are expected to begin obtaining the requisite signatures necessary to refer the Civil Marriage Protection Act to the general election ballot.

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
Maryland and marriage equality will certainly make a lovely couple. Maryland is the Free State, after all. To be able to share and celebrate one’s love and commitment both publicly and legally is a lifelong dream for thousands of same-sex couples and their families. It’s thrilling that Maryland is poised to make this a reality by becoming the latest state to treat its families fairly. This has been a long journey of changing hearts and minds, of breaking down walls, of shining a spotlight on our common humanity. Congratulations to Equality Maryland, Marylanders for Marriage Equality and all those who have been part of the journey leading to this victory.

AFER
Today’s vote by the Maryland General Assembly shows that the momentum toward marriage equality is unstoppable. Generations of Americans will applaud Governor Martin O’Malley and the bipartisan coalition of Maryland lawmakers for joining the courts and legislatures nationwide in defending the fundamental freedom to marry for all.”

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