A majority of senators on a key committee in Maryland now favor legalizing same-sex marriage, making it increasingly likely that the state will join five others and the District in allowing such unions.
-- From "With Democratic gains in state Senate, Maryland poised to approve same-sex marriage" by John Wagner, Washington Post Staff Writer 12/9/10
Membership changes on the panel, where same-sex marriage bills have previously died, are among a handful of shifts produced by last month's elections. Collectively, they appear to have tipped the balance on the most high-profile social issue the General Assembly will consider during its upcoming 90-day session.
Republican gains Nov. 2 in other state legislatures are expected to lead to more conservative social policies. But Democrats in Maryland bucked the trend, adding two seats to their majority in the Senate. Moreover, when the General Assembly convenes next month, a few senators who lost primaries will be replaced by Democrats more supportive of same-sex unions.
Despite Maryland's reputation as a liberal state, lawmakers have been slower to embrace same-sex unions than their colleagues in some other blue states, in part because of the strong opposition of the Catholic and black churches.
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From "Gay marriage should come to a vote in Md. this year" by Andy Green, Baltimore Sun 12/9/10
A Senate president remembers a traumatic debate over abortion nearly 20 years ago and vows that, although he personally opposes gay marriage, he will work to end any filibuster on the issue. The House of Delegates, more liberal than the Senate, has probably had the votes to legalize gay marriage for a long time, but no one wanted to press the issue if it would just die in a Senate committee.
And a governor who had long seen civil unions as the way forward now says he will sign a marriage equality bill if it reaches his desk.
That’s a lot of chickens to count before they hatch, but the path toward legalizing gay marriage here looks clearer than ever — not because of any extraordinary event, or landmark court case, or massive protest march, but because one by one, Marylanders have grown comfortable with the idea that homosexuality is no reason to deny someone’s fundamental rights.
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