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Maryland Senate Set to Debate Marriage Bill

Maryland Senate Set to Debate Marriage Bill

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The Maryland state Senate could begin debate on a marriage equality bill as soon as Wednesday, less than one week after the House of Delegates passed the legislation in a 72-67 vote.

The bill is expected to pass the Senate, where 25 lawmakers voted in favor of a similar measure last year -- one vote more than the minimum amount needed. "I think those votes are locked in," Republican senator Joseph Getty told the Baltimore Sun on Tuesday.

A senate judicial proceedings committee approved the bill yesterday, scrapping amendments that could have forced another vote in the House. Gov. Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign the bill into law, calling the issue a matter of "human dignity."

But a marriage equality law would not go into effect until January 1, 2013. Meanwhile, marriage equality opponents are laying the groundwork for a November referendum, needing just 53,650 signatures to place the issue on the ballot.

Update: the Senate has postponed debate on the bill until tomorrow, though a final vote is still expected by week's end.

Via Associated Press:

The Maryland Senate is delaying debate on a bill to legalize gay marriage.

Republican leaders asked that discussion of the bill and potential amendments be postponed until Thursday.

Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller said the Senate could gather into the evening that day to consider the bill, which barely passed the House of Delegates last week. Debate could continue Friday before a final vote is taken.
(Read the AP article via Washington Post here.)

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