Maryland GOP leader announces support for marriage equality bill

Allan Kittleman

Allan Kittleman

Allan Kittleman

ANNAPOLIS — Well here’s a twist. Maryland Republican State Senator (and until recently Minority Leader), Allan Kittleman, has announced he will support the pending marriage equality legislation, “because of my firm belief in equal rights.”

He will be likely be the only GOP vote.

In addressing reporters and in a statement, Kittleman referenced his late father, former state Sen. Robert H. Kittleman (R-Howard), reports The Washington Post.

“I was raised by a gentleman who joined with others in fighting racial discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s,” Kittleman said. “Watching him fight for civil rights instilled in me the belief that everyone, regardless of race, sex, national origin or sexual orientation, is entitled to equal rights.”

Kittleman said that he is a “strong follower of Jesus Christ” and belongs to a conservative church, but added: “I really believe as a legislator, I don’t vote based on my faith.”

Kittleman originally proposed a bill legalizing civil unions in an attempt to stop full marriage equality.

But after the rest of his Republican colleagues made it clear that they wouldn’t even go that far, he stepped down from the GOP leadership post, and it was expected that he would continue running the civil unions bill.

On Jan. 21, Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola (D) introduced the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. The legislation would permit same-sex couples to marry but would not require churches to perform the unions.

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