Maryland Senate approves same-sex marriage

By Reuters
Friday, February 25, 2011 8:50 EDT
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HILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The Maryland State Senate passed legislation on Thursday night to allow same-sex marriage.

The Civil Marriage Protection Act, approved by the heavily Democratic Senate on a 25-21 vote with strong support from the majority party, would effectively legalize gay marriage without forcing religious clergy to conduct marriages of which they disapproved. It had narrowly passed two preliminary stages of approval.

Senator Richard S. Madaleno Jr., a Montgomery County Democrat and the senate’s first openly gay member, hailed the vote as historic.

“It demonstrates our commitment to civil rights and equality to all,” he said in an email to supporters. “The House of Delegates should act swiftly to provide loving families across our state with the dignity and respect we deserve.”

He said the bill is the same as a similar act in Washington, D.C., in that it exempts religious leaders from performing ceremonies if they object to same-gender marriage.

The next step is up to the Maryland House, expected to begin a hearing on the bill on Friday.

One House member, Heather Mizeur, another Montgomery County Democrat, believes her party is probably a couple of votes short of having 71 absolute commitments for the bill.

The Democrats hold a 98-43 majority in the House, but Mizeur says some party members are reluctant to vote for the bill because of religious beliefs, or because they are concerned about narrow margins of victory in the last election.

Still, Mizeur, also openly gay, said: “I have every confidence that when the votes are counted we will win.”

Opponents of the bill could not be reached immediately for comment.

Maryland would become the sixth state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry if the legislation is approved and signed into law.

The senate vote came a day after President Obama told the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act opposing same-sex marriage because he believes it is unconstitutional.

(Additional reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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  • Anonymous

    It’s been a pretty good week.

  • Anonymous

    see the bill even states that NO religious Institution will have to marry anyone thay don’t want too…….but, you know this will just drive them batty…cause..the lying LIARS they are..they don’t want LGBT Americans to have any Rights. This is going to turn into another Prop 8 all over again in 2012…$$$ MILLIONS will be spent trying to keep committed cpls from martrying (from so-called) religious grps…when that Money could have went to help…..the poor,homelesss, homeless vets…. etc etc etc………..GROW UP AMerica(ns)..and LIVE UP TOO what You BRAG about, and DRONE on and On about24/7, 365 days a yr…Freedom this, and Liberty that…Blah Blah Blah

  • Anonymous

    Right on, Maryland! Now, if we could just get all of these conservative religious fucks in the south to aquiesce…

  • BrainRagYell

    Has anyone checked to see if Christine O’Donnell’s all right?

  • BrainRagYell

    Hell yes, it has.

    Torries in a tizzy — what’s not to love?

  • Ma’at

    That’s perfect! And if Churches don’t wanna do it, then they don’t have to. They can purvey hate wll they want in the confines of their little clan.

    But this is GREAT news!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    If your religion denies you the ability to grant civil rights, or you’re too weak to use logic and reason and decency in your decision making and must resort to 2000 year old mythology books, you have NO BUSINESS being in government. When you let your religion dictate your vote, you’re building a THEOCRACY, which is tangentially in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

    Keep your damn superstitions out of public policy!

  • Dakotahgeo

    Congratulations to Maryland, another state that “gets it right!” With the destruction of DOMA, Civil unions in Hawaii, et al, the time will soon arrive when all states will and must abide by the new societal law… to be legal.
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  • https://twitter.com/DrMatthew Dr. Matt

    Teabaggers, if you oppose gay marriage, don’t marry a gay. Simple as that.

  • Anonymous

    Maryland My Maryland. Democratic stronghold, tied with Connecticut for the second highest household income, second highest percentage of millionaires, defender of civil rights. Maryland- the cure for Mississippi, Alabama and the rotten Republican bastards in Wisconsin.

  • Anonymous

    Shouldn’t be too much longer before the hate mongers of Republican western Maryland decide to break off and form their own official banana republic. Oh yeah, I forgot–they’re always down in Annapolis begging for money.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3NVQSZZC5IM66JEOCSFJUV7FCE Jacques G

    Put your religious biases aside and pass it. Religion has no place in government, remember Separation of Church and State? Practice it.

  • Eric Van Bezooijen

    “without forcing religious clergy to conduct marriages of which they disapproved.” — why is this even a concern? Don’t churches have absolute right to not perform marriages for pretty much any reason? What does this have to do with gay marriage?

  • Anonymous

    If they belong to a faith congregation that wouldn’t be comfortable with marrying them, they are in the wrong faith congregation. Otherwise, it’s the government paperwork that counts, not the church service.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    Religion has no place at all except in the history books. God does not exist, never did.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    She went to Fire Island with the rest of the coven for the weekend.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    State by state, the walls of ignorance fall. In twenty years people will look back an laugh that this was ever an issue at all.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    That is a good prescription Doc.

  • iRead

    yeah…….hell yeah

    Go Terps!

  • Anonymous

    Joe, couldn’t have said it better. You are a star!

  • Anonymous

    Their heads are about to explode. Tell ‘em it’s ok to let go.

  • TheDevilCanDance

    I don’t really understand the issue, this is probably an “American thing”