Maryland Update: Marriage Equality Bill Survives Day Of Amendments, NOM Spending $1 Million To Pressure Legislators
March 09, 2011 4:00 pm ET by Equality Matters staff
SB 116, the marriage equality bill currently being debated in the Maryland House of Delegates, survived four attempts to tack on amendments today. Any amendment would have been a death knell for marriage equality in Maryland, is it would require the bill be sent back to the Senate, which has already announced it does not have time to approve of new changes. The bill also survived a preliminary voice vote -- good news for House leaders struggling to secure the 71 votes needed for final passage. The bill now moves to a third and final tomorrow or Friday, with another chance to offer amendments still looming.
Earlier today, Delegate Peter Murphy (D-Charles County) announced that he is gay in an interview with the Washington Blade. Murphy supports the marriage equality bill, saying “I think it’s a fair bill because it also addresses the religious issue and doesn’t require any religious organization to practice something that goes against their teachings.”
Murphy’s announcement brings the total number of openly gay members of the Maryland legislature to eight, making it “the largest LGBT caucus of state legislators in the country” according to Denis Dison, vice president of communications for the Victory Fund. The presence of such a large LGBT caucus is likely to have a positive impact on SB 116’s prospects for passage.
In sharp contrast to the good news coming out of the Maryland House, the National Organization for Marriage has announced that it will be funneling $1 million of out-of-state money into its new Maryland PAC, which was created to target and replace Republicans who vote in favor of SB116.. Expect NOM to continue using propaganda and misinformation to gin up opposition towards pro-equality officials.
Today might be the last day to ask your representative to support marriage equality, and the bill is still a few votes short. Marylanders call your delegates and demand they stand in support of gay and lesbian couples' right to marry.