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Marriage Bill Has Votes to Pass Md. Senate

Marriage Bill Has Votes to Pass Md. Senate

Jamesrosapepe

Maryland state senator James C. Rosapepe announced his support for the marriage equality bill Thursday, giving the measure the required 24 votes to pass the senate.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the Prince George's County Democrat announced his support for the bill after an amended version with more protections for religious institutions cleared the senate judicial proceedings committee. Rosapepe is a Catholic, the largest Christian denomination in the state and a historically influential lobby.

Rosapepe wrote an e-mail to his constituents, saying, "I intend to vote for the bill as it was reported out of committee with a strengthened conscience clause to respect the views of religious denominations which do not recognize same-sex marriage."

A contentious vote is expected in the full senate next week, during which time more amendments could be offered. The bill is widely expected to pass the house of delegates and Gov. Martin O'Malley has promised to sign it. Opponents could attempt to petition for a referendum to overturn the law.

In a potential preview of the senate debate, the Sun reports on concerns that the religious protection amendment is too broad and gives religious institutions widespread latitude to discriminate against same-sex couples seeking to hold ceremonies in their facilities, like halls.

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