Maryland Senate Passes Marriage Equality Bill
February 23, 2012 by Dan Rafter, Online Campaigns Manager
The Maryland State Senate has just approved marriage equality legislation introduced by Gov. Martin O’Malley. The House of Delegates approved the legislation in a historic vote last Friday. Governor O’Malley is expected to sign the bill.
The Civil Marriage Protection Act allows committed gay and lesbian couples to obtain a marriage license while providing religious exemptions for churches and other religious institutions. Clergy, for example, do not have to perform any marriage they do not agree with.
Virtually any piece of legislation, according to Maryland law, can be subject to a referendum where voters cast a ballot supporting or opposing the legislation. Opponents of marriage equality are expected to begin obtaining the requisite signatures necessary to refer the Civil Marriage Protection Act to the general election ballot.
A January poll by the Washington Post indicated a majority of Marylanders support marriage equality.
The Human Rights Campaign committed extensive resources to the legislative effort in the Free State, including helping to create Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the broad-based coalition made up of labor, faith, civil liberties, and LGBT organizations. Learn more about HRC’s engagement in the fight for marriage equality in Maryland.