After two days of contentious debate and the consideration of several amendments, the Maryland House of Delegates has passed marriage equality legislation with a vote of 71-67. One of the amendments passed delayed the date of enactment from October to January. Another created a non-severability clause, such that if the religious protections are overturned by the courts, the entire law would have to be deemed invalid. The measure still has to advance through the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and full Senate, and even then, it is likely to be challenged by a referendum. http://tinyurl.com/6vef9d4
But we are getting there, finally. Our governor, Martin O’Malley, released the following public statement regarding this vote in the House. I applaud him for taking this stance and for what is a rather bold (and in today’s strange, non-human political environment, very brave) 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.
“Clergy and faith-based leaders, community leaders, civic organizations, civil rights groups, and citizens from across our State have reached the same conclusion that Americans in seven other states have reached – it is possible to protect individual civil marriage rights and religious freedom equally.
“Now, as the Senate prepares to vote, all of us are needed – and we’re prepared to redouble our efforts. The common thread running through our efforts together in Maryland is the thread of human dignity; the dignity of work, the dignity of faith, the dignity of family, the dignity of every individual. Love is an unalienable right.”
Update: On 1 March, Gov. O’Malley signed the bill into law. Md. is now the 8th state to allow same-sex marriage. (Yes, our Gov. is cool.)