News (USA)

Maryland senate committee approves marriage equality bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Maryland Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, sending the measure to the full Senate, another step closer to Maryland becoming the eighth state to legalize marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7 to 4 in favor of the bill, which was approved in the House of Delegates last Friday.

The bill, introduced in the state legislature by Gov. Martin O’Malley, is expected to voted on by the full Senate later this week.

The Senate handily passed a similar bill last year, and is widely expected to do so again. Last year’s Senate vote was 25 to 21, and no senators have announced a change in position since then.

“I believe the 25 votes that we had last year will hold,” said Senator Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County), who also indicated there may be even be a few more favorable Senate votes this year.

With passage widely expected by the full Senate, the measure would then go to O’Malley (D) to be signed into law.

O’Malley, a supporter of marriage equality who has lobbied fervently for the bill, has made it a legislative priority for this year.

The bill includes an amendment approved by the House that would prohibit the law from going into effect until any litigation related to a potential voters’ referendum on the measure is processed.

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