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Maryland Democrats thwart effort to pass same-sex marriage ban

An attempt by antigay Republicans to force a vote on the ban was derailed by Democrats.

An effort by antigay Republican lawmakers in Maryland to bypass the normal procedure and force a vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment aiming to ban same-sex marriage was squashed Thrusday morning, The Washington Post reports. The Republicans had collected the 47 signatures needed to bypass the committee process and put the measure before the full chamber. But just as the session was about to begin, Democratic majority leader Kumar P. Barve moved to recess, and house speaker Michael E. Busch, also a Democrat, banged his gavel.

The state house judiciary committee was scheduled to vote on the constitutional amendment Thursday afternoon, and both parties believe it will not survive there, the Post reports. To revive the bill after that, Republicans would need far more support in the Democrat-dominated house. "They stuffed us!" Anthony J. O'Donnell, a Republican, gasped as the speaker walked off the floor. "This is more of the same obfuscation we've seen, and it's shameful," he said a few moments later.

Democrats defended the countermeasure, saying it was Republicans who were attempting to bypass a process that has been in use in Annapolis for 300 years. "It's a rare instance where we agree with the governor that the process should have a chance to work," Barve said. "We're going to have a vote in committee, and the will of the committee will be brought to the floor." (

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