Maryland Passes Marriage Equality After Senate Vote of 25-22


The Maryland legislature has approved marriage equality after a Senate vote of 25-22 after a few hours of debate during which opponents attempted to add hostile amendments.. The House passed the bill last Friday.

MadalenoSaid out gay Senator Richard Madaleno Jr. before the vote: "We all cherish our family and for many of us in this state, the heart of that family is someone we love dearly who happens to be a person of the same gender. I think it's very hard to imagine a real marriage without that license, which represents a lifetime commitment that we have made to that central person in our lives … We are going to make history because we are going to take another step toward embracing every family from the state of Maryland."

With Governor Martin O'Malley's vote, Maryland will become the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

O'Malley released a statement shortly after the vote:

Omalley"I'd like to thank Senate President Miller for his leadership and our legislators in the Senate for their hard work and their vote today for human dignity. All children deserve the opportunity to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home, protected equally under the law. The common thread running through our efforts together in Maryland is the thread of human dignity; the dignity of work, the dignity of faith, the dignity of family, the dignity of every individual. Thanks to our elected leaders, clergy and faith-based leaders, community leaders, civic organizations, civil rights groups, and citizens from across our state, Maryland will now be able to protect individual civil marriage rights and religious freedom equally."


(image above, via Equality MD, the votes on the board just before the final vote)


  1. RonTEX says

    Awesome, only 42 more States to go! I bet Maggie is looking at the bottom of an ice cream bucket about now ; )

  2. Zlick says

    I am giddy with happiness over recent developments. The court rulings in Perry, then Golinski, and now this vote in Maryland.

    I seriously have never been more happy to be gay (though I’ve always been pretty pleased with it) – but living at this fantastic time is amazing – and I daresay even better than the time to follow when gay rights are commonplace and assured. Watching it unfold in real time is just so damn exciting and life-affirming. When too many other things in the world seem to be heading south, this is one very important thing heading in a beautiful direction.

    I’m even happy about Prop 8! I think it unleashed a world of good, or at least gave a very big push to positive developments in American civil rights and human rights in general.


  3. MiddleoftheRoader says

    There will be voter referenda in 3 states this fall regarding same-sex marriage. Voters in Maryland and Washington State (where the legislature passed marriage equality) will be asked to overturn the legislatures. Voters in Maine, where the legislature has not acted this year, will be asked to enact marriage equality by bypassing the legislature. In a related matter, Minnesota voters will be asked whether to pass an amendment to the State Constitution that outlaws gay marriage. UNLESS GAY RIGHTS SUPPORTERS CAN WIN IN AT LEAST 2 OF THESE STATES, GAY MARRIAGE WILL BE SET BACK FOR 10 YEARS OR MORE.

    So, here’s the message to all Towleroad readers: Let’s get off our butts, let’s raise money, let’s write friends and family who live in these states, and let’s make sure we win these November votes. If we lose, it will be disastrous.

  4. MAP says

    Now the real work know NOM and it’s ilk will start with the lies and distortions and become victims of religious persecution ….Maryland if you want to win this at the ballot box you had better call out NOM and the religious organizations every time they come with another lie.

  5. DB says

    Hallelujah! What a wonderful Lenten gift for all families in Maryland. Our prayers for Marylanders have been answered. Let’s make sure Governor O’Malley signs it and that it is not overturned by an anti-marriage amendment in November.

  6. MiddleoftheRoader says

    MAP: The BEST people to “call out” the anti-marriage churches are other churches that are pro-marriage and other religious supporters. We are not going to convince, let alone neutralize, anti-marriage religious voters unless equally religious (but non-bigoted) people take up this fight. Remember, there are MANY pro-gay religious groups, people and churches. And let’s distinguish the CATHOLIC CHURCH from individual Catholics — MOST Catholics support same-sex marriage, so let’s not dump on “Catholics” or on “religious people”. We need their help.

    Especially when it comes to African-American churches, our many supporters among the straight African-American community are the best voices to speak with those African-Americans who currently oppose marriage — particularly in Prince Georges County. Politically, white LGBT people and their white supporters ain’t going to work too well.

    As for NOM — hopefully Maryland has contribution disclosure laws so that we can all see whose $$ will be funding the effort in Maryland. NOM deserves no mercy, though the criticism and the debate with them should be civil on our side. The public will listen more to us if we avoid name-calling and focus on the facts.

  7. Mike C. says

    Any idea what portion of the US population now lives in a state where gay marriage is recognized? For instance we know it is 8 out of 50 states plus DC, but I bet is a greater proportion of the population than 8/50

  8. MiddleoftheRoader says

    MIKE C: Not counting MD and WA State (where the laws won’t go into effect unless they win at referendum), only about 34.8 million people live in the 6 states (+DC) that permit marriage equality. Unfortunately, that’s only about 11% of the US population. So a higher percentage of states + DC (7/51 = 14%) allow same-sex marriage than the percentage of population living in such states. Even if you add MD and WA State (if we win the referenda), that’s only another 12.4 million, which means 15% of the population (vs 9/51 states + DC = about 19%). Of the big states that will pop up the % of population living in states with marriage equality, we need to get marriage in CA (37 million) and NJ (8.8 million). Forget about TX, FL, OH, PA, NC, MI for at least 10 more years — maybe IL and CO in 5 years. Or if you want to wait 50 years, we MIGHT get places like AL, MS, OK……

    However, none of this will really matter after CA, NJ and a couple of other states join in. Despite DOMA (if the states’ rights section of it survives), it will be completely impractical for states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states when there are hundreds of thousands of same-sex marriage. Many more companies aren’t going to be able to transfer same-sex couples (and their children) to work in states that remain bigoted; universities are not going to be able to attract students and faculty to states that refuse to recognize same-sex marriages; etc. etc. There will surely be hold-outs (AL, MS, etc), but within 5 years after CA, NJ and a few more states legalize it, the game is really over in most states (assuming the Supreme Court itself doesn’t step in and say that a state cannot ‘undo’ a marriage of 5, 10 or more years that was performed in another state just because the married couple moved into a new state — Supreme Court ain’t going to let that happen after same-sex marriage reaches a critical mass where practical problems become impossible to ignore).

  9. Zlick says

    Ok, so what’s the deal with the timing of a voter referendum in Maryland? Does the law go into effect before that, or is it held in abeyance as is now happening in Washington?

  10. says

    The law doesn’t go into effect until Jan 1 so if the referendum happens, as expected, it will take place before then, in Nov.

    Nonetheless, these legislative successes are successes and well worth celebrating. It just means the work isn’t over as long as heinous referendums can strip away legislated equality.

  11. says

    “The transgender rights organization Gender Rights Maryland announced on its website Jan. 25 that the gender identity bill, SB 212, would be introduced by lead sponsor Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery Co.), but that there would be no cross-filed bill in the House of Delegates, largely because of concerns that the bill would not be brought to a vote in the Senate.

    According to Gender Rights Maryland, when Miller was asked about the gender identity bill he told advocates, ”I only have time for one gay bill this session,” referring to the decision to push for the passage of a marriage-equality bill in the General Assembly.”

    Gays, of course, have had these rights for some years.

    So, now marriage equality has been achieved, we can all declare victory and go home, right? Nothing left to do, no unfinished business in this state. Move on to the next, and the next, till we have equality for everyone.

    Then maybe we can look at the problem of Trangenders.

  12. Steve says

    The Governor thanked Senate President Miller for his leadership; but Miller voted AGAINST Marriage Equality.

    Local talk radio here was in hate mode last night. Satan himself, MD Delegate Don Dwyer, was in rare form talking about our agenda to take over public schools with our sick perversions.