Six gay members of the Maryland house of delegates are imploring their colleagues to support the marriage equality bill in a new letter.
The Washington Post reports on the personal appeal dated Tuesday and signed by delegates Luke Clippinger, Bonnie Cullison, Anne Kaiser, Maggie McIntosh, Heather R. Mizeur, and Mary Washington.
"The General Assembly will consider many other important bills and initiatives during this legislative session, but few will be as important to a group of Marylanders as the Civil Marriage Protection Act will be for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community," they write. "The estimated 15,600 families headed by same-sex couples in our state are remarkably similar to all other families. As anyone who attended the House or Senate hearing can attest, we come from all walks of life and reflect the great diversity for which Maryland is known. Same-sex couples live in every single one of Maryland's counties. Fully one-fifth of LGBT families include children under the age of 18. Our households are financially interdependent in ways that any couple in the state would recognize. We are proud to live in Maryland."
The lawmakers acknowledge that the legislation will pose "a close call and a tough vote" for many of their colleagues, but they urge their fellow lawmakers not to be distracted by the arguments of opponents, or to embrace civil unions as an alternative to marriage equality.
Debate on the marriage equality bill is expected to begin soon in the house of delegates, with a final vote likely later this week. Gov. Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign the bill, which the senate passed two weeks ago.
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