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Maryland senate president Thomas V. Mike Miller said there is no guarantee his chamber, which approved the marriage equality bill last month, would pass the measure again next year. The bill was shelved in the house last week.
According to The Washington Post, Miller said that the success of the bill in the senate galvanized previously uninvolved evangelical churches to become engaged in the house debate. The house leadership pulled the bill in a stunning move last Friday because it was short one to two votes.
The Post reported that Miller said, "When it was here before, the opposition was not engaged." He described some of the senate votes in favor of the bill as "fragile," and predicted that a "sea change" would be needed for a different outcome in the house next year.
Sen. Jamie Raskin, the floor leader for the bill, made a similar observation last week in an interview with The Advocate after the house shelved the measure. He said that religious opponents "called in the heavy artillery from around the country" after the bill passed the senate in a 25 to 21 vote following a civil debate.
Miller voted against the marriage equality bill but used his position to stop a filibuster that would have downed the measure in his chamber.
Miller also believes that Maryland voters would reject marriage equality if given the chance on the November 2012 ballot. A state referendum process allows citizens to petition new laws if they collect enough signatures.
"Miller said he believes a large number of 'Obama voters,' evangelicals and Catholics would be sufficient to defeat the law on referendum," the Post reported.