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Maryland

Maryland House of Delegates approves historic marriage equality bill

Passage in Senate likely; Governor promises appoval
Friday, February 17, 2012

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s House of Delegates on Friday evening approved by a thin margin a measure to legalize same-sex marriage, moving the state closer to becoming the eighth state to offer full marriage equality for its gay and lesbian citizens.

The state Senate in next to consider the bill — that chamber handily passed a similar bill last year, and is widely expected to do so again.

Today’s passage in the House sets the stage for the measure to be signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), a supporter of marriage equality who has lobbied fervently for the bill, and who has made it a legislative priority for this year.

“Today, the House of Delegates voted for dignity,” O’Malley posted on Twitter. He later added, “Love is an inalienable right.”

The vote in Maryland was greeted by cheers from a packed chamber gallery in Annapolis, and came shortly after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed a similar bill approved in that state’s legislature.

The official vote was 71-67, but reports indicate that Del. John Bohanan also intended to vote for the bill, but was not recorded by the voting system. The vote count reflecting Bohanan’s vote would be 72-67.

Del. Sam Arora (D-Montgomery County) — who in 2010 raised massive amounts of LGBT support and fundraising money as a result of his close ties with gay Democratic activists and his pro-same-sex marriage position — voted against the bill.

The bill includes an amendment approved by the House from Delegate Tiffany Alston (D-Prince George), who previously opposed to the bill — a move opponents suggested secured her vote. Alston’s amendment would prohibit the law from going into effect until any litigation related to a potential voters’ referendum on the measure is processed.

“Today, we took a giant step toward marriage equality becoming law — and we are in this position due to the unwavering leadership and resolve of Governor O’Malley, Speaker (Michael) Busch and our legislative allies,” Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

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14 more reader comments:

  1. <3

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 6:25pm
  2. Hopefully their governor is a bit better than ours up here in Jersey :/

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 6:26pm
  3. Love love love it!!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 6:27pm
  4. Love IS Love <3

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 6:42pm
  5. WHOO HOO !!!

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:10pm
  6. “Alston’s amendment would prohibit the law from going into effect until any litigation related to a potential voters’ referendum on the measure is processed.” This is scarry. Antis could tie this up with repeated efforts to put it in the ballot over and over, even if it is denied it would delay implementation. I wonder what it really says.

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:18pm
  7. come on the rest of america…this is the land of the free..people should have the right to marry whom ever they wish as long as they are happy and committed no matter what their sexual preference is. our sexuality shouldn’t be a factor of wheather or not a couple should or should not be allowed to marry anywhere in america. we have rights…right along with all the other straight people. why should anyones sexual prefernce make it so we are denied the right to marry the one we love and are committed to?

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:19pm
  8. This is so Cool!

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:20pm
  9. YES, Mr. Dwyer, there is a Santa Claus!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:31pm
  10. New Jersey should take a lesson from this state.

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 10:19pm
  11. this whole movement is sooo great!

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 10:24pm
  12. cant stop the flood of love

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 10:42pm
  13. more wonderful momentum!

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 3:49am
  14. History is happening, It is about time! Amen now for the rest of the states to follow so we can be like Europe! Where they all have the right to marry whomever they love!

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 4:06am