Maryland same-sex marriage bill dies in House

Although the Maryland State Senate
voted 25-21 last month in favor of legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage, the measure ultimately failed to move forward in the State House of Representatives, and was sent back to committee where it will most likely not be discussed until January 2012.
“We do have 30 new legislators in the House, we didn’t know where people stood on these issues,” co-sponsor of the bill and Maryland delegate Brian Feldman (D-15) said. “Many of the Prince George’s legislators who we thought would be supportive of the bill ended up changing their position.”
Maryland, Rhode Island and New York already recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire
and the District of Columbia are currently the only states that have approved same-sex marriage.
According to a January poll by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies, 51 percent of Marylanders favored allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 44 percent opposed the law and 5 percent gave no response. Marylanders’ views on this issue break down along party lines. The survey shows that 65 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of Independents, and 27 percent of Republicans approve the measure.
“I think our generation is more liberal,” Gay-Straight Alliance public relations representative
junior Aura Chapa said, explaining support for the change in state law.
Governor Martin O’Malley had stated he would sign the legislation if presented to him, and opponents of the bill planned to gather signatures to seek a state referendum on the law in 2012.
The bill was amended in order to appeal to those who disagree with the concept of same-sex marriage, an amendment that would allow religious groups and institutions that were opposed
to conducting same-sex weddings to refuse to perform them.
According to Feldman, however, most delegates who opposed the legislation
were unlikely to be swayed by the amendments given the intensity of views surrounding the issue.he would sign the legislation if presented to him, and opponents of the bill planned to gather signatures to seek a state referendum on the law in 2012.
The bill was amended in order to appeal to those who disagree with the concept of same-sex marriage, an amendment that would allow religious groups and institutions that were opposed
to conducting same-sex weddings to refuse to perform them.
According to Feldman, however, most delegates who opposed the legislation
were unlikely to be swayed by the amendments given the intensity of views surrounding the issue.According to county councilwoman Nancy Floreen, a co-sponsor of the council resolution, Maryland would not be “setting the pace for the nation,” and she believes that the recent approval of legislation in DC may have caused the recent push for same-sex marriage in Maryland.
“The bill passed the State Senate and is only a couple of votes away in the House,” Feldman said. “I think it’s very likely the bill will be reintroduced next year.”