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As Maryland Marriage Vote Looms, Support Still Needed

As Maryland Marriage Vote Looms, Support Still Needed

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Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley said that a House of Delegates committee could advance the marriage equality bill this week, but "a couple" of votes are still needed on the floor.

O'Malley spoke to reporters Monday after an evening rally for the marriage equality bill in Annapolis, according to the Baltimore Sun. He indicated that the lobbying effort continues in the House.

"People always make their decisions against deadlines," said O'Malley, who was making an unscheduled appearance at the rally. "The bill has been heard in the House and is likely to move. Exactly when will be up to the Speaker of course."

Last year, the bill failed to receive a vote in the House after passing the Senate for the first time with bipartisan support from one Republican, Allan Kittleman. The Senate judicial committee chairman told the Sun that he would wait on the House before sending the bill to the senate floor, but he would not hold indefinitely.

According to the Associated Press, O'Malley said the bill still needs "a couple" of votes to reach the threshold of 71 in the House. He said that winning Republican support was important to the bill's prospects in the chamber.

"That was the difference in many other states and that could well be the difference here," said O'Malley of Republican support. "It's hard to say right now. Right now there's a lot of soul searching going on a lot of people will be making their decisions finally in the next few days."

The AP reported that Del. Patrick Hogan of Frederick County is one such Republican being courted by advocates.

Last Friday, the House Judiciary and Health and Government Operations Committees held a joint hearing with more than 10 hours of testimony on the bill. The governor, who has made the bill a legislative priority this session, testified.

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