Maryland Senate to Hold Hearing on Marriage Equality Bill
Equality Maryland writes:
Equality Maryland, elected officials from multiple jurisdictions, and real Marylanders who are impacted by the exclusion of committed gay and lesbian couples from marriage will speak out in support of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB 116) Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear testimony on the bill at 1 p.m.
“Today everyday Marylanders, elected officials, clergy, families, and community leaders will testify in support of civil marriage for committed, loving gay couples,” said Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Equality Maryland executive director. “Equality Maryland urges the committee to do the right thing and vote in support of marriage for all families.”
Activists seeking to make Maryland the seventh state in the nation to recognize gay marriage said they will pack a hearing of Maryland's Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Tuesday with same-sex families, clergy and legal experts.
Opponents — led by the Maryland Catholic Conference and other religious groups — are also preparing to speak out at the hearing. Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, D-Montgomery, filed the bill which will be vetted at the hearing.
Supporters are likely to face their greatest hurdle in the Senate, where they would need 29 of the chamber's 47 lawmakers to break a filibuster and 24 votes to advance the measure to the House.
Looks like the committee will get a visit from NOM's Maggie Gallagher as well.
You'll be able to listen in on Senate audio HERE, if you're interested.
Efforts in support of marriage equality in the state recently got a boost when Lt. Governor Anthony Brown declared his support for legislation, saying "regardless of gender, we should be able to choose who it is that we are going to marry and hopefully spend the rest of our lives with. And so I’m supportive of that."
Maryland Senate Republican Allan Kittleman broke with his party to support it, saying, "I was raised by a gentleman who joined with others in fighting racial discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s. 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."
A recent Gonzalez poll showed that most Marylanders support legalizing same-sex marriage:
"In the poll, 51 percent of voters say they would favor a law in Maryland allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 44 percent opposed such a law and 5 percent gave no response."