On Friday, February 17th, 2012, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a marriage equality bill 71 votes to 67 and on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012, Maryland senators met in Annapolis to debate the Civil Marriage Protection Act. The bill passed 25 (YES) – 22 (NO).
On Friday, February 17th, after the House passed the marriage equality bill Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement, “Today, the House of Delegates voted for human dignity. Speaker Busch and his fellow Delegates deserve a lot of credit for their hard work. At its heart, their vote was a vote for Maryland’s children.
There is still work to be done and marriage equality has not yet been achieved in Maryland. Wherever we happen to stand on the marriage equality issue, we can agree that all our children deserve the opportunity to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home, protected equally under the law.”
“We could not be more grateful to the delegates who today voted to make all Maryland families stronger. Today, we took a giant step toward marriage equality becoming law – and we are in this position due to the unwavering leadership and resolve of Governor O’Malley, Speaker Busch and our legislative allies.” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
The bill now awaits the promised signature from Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, which could come as early as tomorrow Friday, February 24th. Maryland will be the eight state to legalize same-sex unions, joining Washington, New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.
People against same sex marriage have until the end of May to gather 55,736 valid signatures to force the issue onto the November ballot. The law is slated to take effect in January 2013 to allow the referendum process to play out. Supporters of the civil rights of same sex couples, meanwhile, are already looking toward the referendum fight.
Melissa Goemann, legislative director of ACLU of Maryland said, “History was made today. Delegates protected religious liberty while allowing for equal protection under the law for same-sex couples and their families.”
“Committed gay and lesbian couples and their children are on the road to being protected equally under the law due to the efforts of the House today,” said Kate Planco-Waybright, interim executive director of Progressive Maryland.
“We’re fortunate to be riding a huge wave of momentum as we enter the referendum process. There is still a lot of work to do over the coming months, but we think voters will ultimately agree that all children, no matter who their parents are, should be protected under the law. Marriage equality is about building strong, stable families,” said Sultan Shakir, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality.
List of Maryland’s senators:
Brochin, James (D) Baltimore Co.
Conway, Joan Carter (D) Baltimore
Ferguson, William C., IV (D) Baltimore
Forehand, Jennie M. (D) Montgomery
Frosh, Brian E. (D) Montgomery
Garagiola, Robert J. (D) Montgomery
Gladden, Lisa A. (D) Baltimore
Jones-Rodwell, Verna L. (D) Baltimore
Kasemeyer, Edward J. (D) Howard
Kelley, Delores G. (D) Baltimore Co.
King, Nancy J. (D) Montgomery
Kittleman, Allan H. (R) Howard
Klausmeier, Katherine A. (D) Baltimore Co.
Madaleno, Richard S., Jr. (D) Montgomery
Manno, Roger (D) Montgomery
McFadden, Nathaniel J. (D) Baltimore
Montgomery, Karen S. (D) Montgomery
Pinsky, Paul G. (D) Prince George’s
Pugh, Catherine E. (D) Baltimore
Ramirez, Victor R. (D) Prince George’s
Raskin, Jamie B. (D) Montgomery
Robey, James N. (D) Howard
Rosapepe, James C. (D) Prince George’s
Young, Ronald N. (D) Frederick
Zirkin, Robert A. (D) Baltimore Co.
Astle, John C. (D) Anne Arundel
Benson, Joanne C. (D) Prince George’s
Brinkley, David R. (R) Frederick
Colburn, Richard F. (R) Dorchester
Currie, Ulysses (D), Prince George’s
DeGrange, James E., Sr. (D) Anne Arundel
Dyson, Roy P. (D) St. Mary’s
Edwards, George C. (R) Garrett
Getty, Joseph M. (R), Carroll
Glassman, Barry (R) Harford
Jacobs, Nancy (R) Harford
Jennings, J. B. (R) Harford
Mathias, James N., Jr. (D) Worcester
Middleton, Thomas M. (D) Charles
Miller, Thomas V. Mike (D) Calvert
Muse, C. Anthony (D) Prince George’s
Peters, Douglas J. J. (D) Prince George’s
Pipkin, E. J. (R) Cecil
Reilly, Edward R. (R) Anne Arundel
Shank, Christopher B. (R) Washington
Simonaire, Bryan W. (R) Anne Arundel
Stone, Norman R., Jr. (D) Baltimore Co.
“With Washington state recently legalizing same-sex unions and Maryland about to follow suit. While 71 percent of white Democrats in the Old Line State favor gay marriage, just 41 percent of black Democrats do.
Inconceivable even a generation ago, gay marriage is well on its way to becoming mainstream as a growing majority of Americans now favor it. The only question is when, not if, folks such as Maryland residents Justin and Phillip Terry-Smith will join heterosexuals in the joys of getting married – and divorced – happily ever after.”