Maryland House Approves Marriage Equality Bill

The Maryland House of Delegates has just passed the marriage equality bill in a 71-67 vote:

OmalleyThe Civil Marriage Protection Act passed the House with support from a Prince George’s County lawmaker who helped kill the bill last year by walking out of a voting session.

The House passage puts Maryland on the verge of being the eighth state to allow gay nuptials. The legislation still must be taken up in the Senate, which last year passed a similar bill and is expected do so again. The chamber will likely debate it next week.

The House vote is a major win for O’Malley, who threw the weight of his office behind the measure after a similar bill fell a few votes short in the House last year. The governor had been working the halls of the House office building at all hours to convince wavering delegates.

MarylandThink Progress has details on some of the amendments that passed with it:

One of the amendments passed delayed the date of enactment from October to January. Another created a non-severability clause, such that if the religious protections are overturned by the courts, the entire law would have to be deemed invalid. The measure still has to advance through the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and full Senate, and even then, it is likely to be challenged by a referendum.


  1. Zlick says

    Interesting thing about that non-severability clause … if marriages go forward and the court overturns the religious “protections” later … voila, another great reason why having Perry as precedent is so valuable.

  2. MiddleoftheRoader says

    There will be at least 3 same-sex marriage referenda this fall: Washington State, Maine and Maryland (this does NOT count Minnesota, which will be voting on whether to amend its constitution to prohibit same sex marriage). If gay rights advocates do not win at least 1 of the 3 referenda, it’s going to be a LONGGGGGGGGGGG time before another state legislature has the courage to enact these laws. I hope that members of the LGBT community and their friends and family are willing to work hard to win these referenda. Grassroots organizing of this sort in elections has not been our strength so far.

  3. Matt says

    Doesn’t the recent 9th circuit court of appeals ruling set a legal precedent that you cannot take away rights that have already been established?

    Doesn’t this throw out the panicy homophobic referendum process of denying same sex couples equal rights that they, in some cases, briefly enjoyed?

  4. Robert in NYC says

    Middleoftheroader, I agree. I’m sure all three will be defeated in mob rule referenda. I can hear NOM et al cheering arleady. They will be celebrating yesterday’s veto in New Jersey. The sickening thing is, we have a lot of gay self-loathing republicans voting for and supporting the party of hate and “no” which help the bigots win.

  5. Charlie says

    No for two reasons. It is not legally binding because Maryland is not in the 9th Circuit. But it could be cited none-the-less. But the ruling only only binding on states within the 9th Circuit.

    Two, no right has been granted until this is law. It does not become law until it goes into effect, which will be after a referendum. So IF marriage equality becomes law then opponents cannot put an initiative on the ballot to take rights away. The is the same situation in Washington State, which IS in the 9th Circuit.

  6. Colby Parr says


    Additionally, the CA decision is a little different, because CA has domestic partnerships which grant the same rights as marriage in CA. The fight in CA is essentially about the use of the word “marriage.” This is a distinction that any opponents of marriage equality in Virginia can use successfully.

  7. Ken says

    Another thing that makes the California different is that the right to marriage was found in the California constitution by the state Supreme Court and then eliminated with Prop 8. I think that a law passed by a legislature and then repealed will be viewed differently by the courts. The only other state where I see the Prop 8 decision really helping us is in Iowa should they repeal the law there.

  8. Kylew says

    There’s no way in a majority black state, or a state with a high concentration of black voters that any gay rights bill will go anywehere. Black folks have sadly shown their bigotry toward us and proved the only civil rights that matters to them is their own.

  9. Landon C. says

    I have to agree with other commentators. It’s not that black people are indifferent toward gays being treated as equals…they are very much so anti gay and have proven it.

  10. uffda says

    If there were a gay slave in every black household ultimately every black slaveholder would have to grant us our freedom, recognize our equality, develop a guilt complex over it and…but it’s too late at night right now to develop this into a proper parody. Maybe I’ll just go back to my script for a film on reparative camps for Christians.

    What IS the reason that blacks are not supportive?

  11. Bob LeLay says


    Bunk! Domestic partnerships do not grant any federal rights in any state, such as social security, immigration, etc. There are 1,138 benefits, rights and protections provided on the basis of marital status in Federal law. [1] Because the Defense of Marriage Act defines “marriage” as only a legal union between one man and one woman, same-sex couples – even if legally married in their state – will not be considered spouses for purposes of federal law. Federal law does not recognize domestic partnerships either!