"There's an effort to derail this bill like none I've seen before," said gay State Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery County), the author and one of the lead sponsors of the marriage equality bill in the Senate, as quoted by the Washington Blade.
Opponents included Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization of Marriage, and Derrick McCoy, president of the Maryland Family Alliance, as well as representatives from the Maryland Catholic Conference and the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage.
In addition to speaking out against the marriage equality bill, many of the opponents testified in favor of an alternate measure introduced by Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County) that would call for a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
A major blow came in earlier in the week when Del. Melvin Stukes (D-Baltimore City), who for the past four years has been a co-sponsor of the marriage bill, withdrew his sponsorship, telling the Baltimore Sun that he had made a mistake in thinking the bill paved the way for civil unions. Upon determining that the measure would in fact allow gays to marry, he said, "I'm very sorry that I got on the bill."
Among those who testified in favor were Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City), Del. Joseph Vallario (D-Prince George's County), Equality Maryland's executive director Morgan Meneses-Sheets, as well as lesbian and gay couples, ministers, and parents of gays and lesbians.
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