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Two Md. Senators for Marriage Equality

Two Md. Senators for Marriage Equality

Kasemeyer

Maryland state senators Edward Kasemeyer and Katherine Klausmeier said Monday that they would support the marriage equality bill, bringing the number of votes for the measure to 23. The bill needs 24 votes to pass the chamber.

According to The Baltimore Sun, "Kasemeyer, a Democrat who represents Howard and Baltimore counties, had not previously said how he planned to vote on the bill. Many had believed he would not support it because he represents a conservative area."

Klausmeier, also a Democrat from Baltimore County, said, "I just weighed all of the options. It's about fairness," the Sun reported.

The announcements from Kasemeyer and Klausmeier leave four senators, all Democrats, undecided or unwilling to share their position on the bill. However, The Washington Post reports that one undecided senator, Joan Carter Conway, said last week that she would vote for the bill if hers was the deciding vote, a pledge that would bring the number of votes to the required 24 at this point.

Twenty senators oppose the bill, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which is expected to clear the judicial proceedings committee this Thursday.

Last week, Sen. James Brochin, another Democrat from Baltimore County, announced his support for the measure, saying that he was persuaded by the "appalling" testimony from marriage equality opponents.

Also on Monday, legislative leaders, attorney general Doug Gansler and advocates rallied in front of the statehouse in Annapolis to support the marriage equality bill and the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination against transgender Marylanders in the areas of employment, housing, and credit. Later, they delivered hundreds of carnations to lawmakers.

"This is a historic day for all Marylanders as we stand here advocating for our community's most basic rights - the right to be who you are and the right to marry the person that you love," said Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, in a news release. "Here tonight, I see the diversity of our community and the importance of this legislative session to our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender family. More and more Maryland legislators are standing with us on the right side of history. This Valentine's Day we are reminded that love is truly just love, and all people in our state deserve to be treated with respect and dignity."

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