Maryland’s marriage equality bill was shelved on Friday, a setback for gay rights advocates who expected this legislative session to be their best chance to date for passage.
Via The Baltimore Sun:
The decision by the House of Delegates to send a bill legalizing gay marriage back to the House Judiciary Committee — a move designed to prevent the measure’s outright defeat — is a crushing disappointment to the thousands of Marylanders who lobbied, pleaded and prayed for legislators to remove a final vestige of state-sanctioned discrimination from our laws. The move does not mean that the issue is dead for the year, but it is a major setback. […]
The issue is not dead; if vote tallies change, the bill could theoretically be brought back to the floor, though House Speaker Michael E. Busch indicated he doesn’t expect that to happen. But advocates should also bear in mind that although this year appeared from the beginning like a magical opportunity, it is not the only one.
Nothing will change between now and 2012 other than the steady growth in the public’s acceptance of true equal rights for all. And perhaps proponents could enlist some high-profile help. In the wake of the House’s action, Gov. Martin O’Malley issued a statement saying he had hoped to sign a same-sex marriage bill and that he remains “committed to working with all Marylanders to ensure that rights are protected for … everyone.” If he means that, he should get off the sidelines and publicly advocate for the issue.
Justice has been delayed, but it has not been defeated.