Maryland One Step Closer To Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage
It now appears to only be a matter of time before same-sex marriage becomes legal in the State of Maryland:
A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage squeaked through the House of Delegates on Friday night with just one vote above the minimum needed for passage, putting Maryland on the cusp of becoming the eighth state to allow such unions.
Cheers erupted when the gavel dropped on the final 72-67 tally. Within minutes, Gov.Martin O’Malley, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, walked from his second-floor office to the door of the House chamber, embraced House Speaker Michael E. Buschand said, “Good job, man.”
“We are a good people. We all want the same things for our kids,” O’Malley said. Then he extended credit to delegates and activists, many of whom had been skeptical about his commitment to the issue. “These guys did it,” he said.
The measure now goes to the Senate, which passed a similar bill last year and is expected do so again. The chamber will likely take up the measure next week.
Should the bill pass in both chambers, activists on both sides believe it would be petitioned to referendum in November. If voters approve the measure, the earliest a gay couple would be able to wed is January 2013, when the law would go into effect.
The victory is significant 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 persuade wavering delegates.
It’s good news, of course, but there’s still the expected referendum to deal with. However, if it stands it means that Maryland would join the District of Columbia in becoming the first two Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions to legalize same-sex marriage. The tide is indeed turning.