Last-Minute Amendment Eyed as Maryland House Plans Friday Vote on Marriage Equality

As the Maryland House prepares to take a vote on the pending marriage equality bill tomorrow, an undecided delegate has proposed a last minute amendment which strips specifics from a religious protection clause in the bill:

Maryland Del. John A. Olszewski Jr. said today that he believes his amendment makes the bill stronger. The House Judiciary Committee this afternoon debated whether to embrace Olszewski's amendment as "friendly," even as Republican committee members cried foul. 

The amendment strikes language in the bill that spells out what religious programs — including counseling and summer camp — are shielded from having to provide services to same-sex couples. By taking out those specifications, Olszewski believes, the overall religious protections would be stronger. (See page 5, lines 9 and 10, the words "through" to "retreat.")

The committee delayed making a decision until tomorrow morning – 10 minutes before the marriage bill is scheduled to be presented on the House floor for a final vote. The 141-member House appears nearly evenly split on approval of the overall bill, meaning every delegate's vote carries extra significance.

Should the amendment be accepted, the bill would have to return to the Senate, which passed it last week, for approval.


  1. TampaZeke says

    I don’t trust that amendment. They’re looking to make it so vague that ANYONE will be able to refuse to recognize a same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

  2. K says

    What a pos. If you live in Maryland, you need to call your delegate RIGHT NOW! Use to find your legislator and leave a voicemail with your name and address, as they appear on your voter registration card. Say you want him/her to protect ALL Maryland families by voting in favor of SB116, the Civil Marriage Protection Act. Personalize it by adding a sentence or two about how this will affect you or someone you know, or why this issue is important to you. The people who really need to have a fire lit under them are:
    *Robert Costa in 33B,
    *Nicholaus Kipke in 31, and
    *Mary Ann Love (her real name) in 32

  3. k says

    If in fact it does pass the House, and then back to the Senate again, and even after the governor signs it, all it takes is 50,000 signatures (or maybe 75,000) to get it included on a ballot for the voters to decide. Kind of a depressing thought…

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