Maryland gay marriage bill moves forward
By Wendell Marsh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill that could make Maryland the eighth state to effectively allow gay marriage cleared a key committee on Friday, but supporters said its future was still uncertain.
After Senate Bill 116 was approved last week, it went to the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee where it was passed 12 to 10 on Friday afternoon, but not without some bumps along the way.
The vote was put off earlier in the week when two Democratic lawmakers who co-sponsored the measure boycotted the committee meeting. Delegate Tiffany Alton, one of the boycotters ultimately voted against the legislation.
As a result, supporters said that it was not clear what would happen next.
"If you looked at it today, I don't think that the votes are there but it's always a work in progress," said Judiciary Committee member Luiz Simmons, a supporter of the bill and legislative veteran
"I think there's a possibility of getting the 71 votes (majority), but I don't know. There is no way of knowing for sure."
House Majority leader Kumar Barve, however, said that he was confident of the count in favor for the bill.
"It's going to be close but I think that a majority of the House feels that this is a civil rights issue and its a matter of giving the same rights and privileges and responsibility to loving, same sex couples that married people like me have," Barve said. Continued...