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Md. Gay Marriage Supporters Close In Senate Vote

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Same-sex marriage supporters rallied in Maryland. (Credit: CBS)

Same-sex marriage supporters rallied in Maryland. (Credit: CBS)

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Same-sex marriage supporters in Maryland are one vote shy of securing approval in the state Senate. We’re just days away from a pivotal vote and those who say yes are gaining support.

Andrea Fujii explains there’s still a lot of strong opposition, though.

Supporters of gay marriage are rallying just days before a potentially historic state vote.

“I think it’s very close.  I think people are seeing that the tide is turning and they want to be on the right side of history,” said Lisa Ward, Unitarian Universalist Church.

A Senate committee is considering a bill that would consider a referendum on legalizing gay marriage.

“I’m here because I want to marry my partner of 10 years.  We have a wedding date and I want it to be legal.  I don’t want to have to leave Maryland to get married,” said Lisa Simmons.

“We decided as a couple to wait until it was legal to actually get married and not to just have a ceremony.  We want our rights and we want to be able to get married here,” said Katie Barth.

And they’re bringing their message directly to the representatives who may still be on the fence.  Hundreds of people are meeting with their delegates and their state senators to ask for their support.

“It’s going to be a real fight over there.  It’s going to be a dog and cat battle over there,” said Emmett Burns Jr.

Twenty-three senators have publicly said they would support the bill. One more is needed for a majority, although Senator Joan Carter Conway has previously said that she would support the bill if 23 other senators supported it.  Then, the House will consider it.

Delegate Emmett Burns is a solid “no” vote.

“I don’t care what people are but when you want to raise it to the level of marriage and call it a civil rights issue, that’s going too far.  I don’t think it’s going to prevail,” he said.

Some Marylanders are more optimistic.

“Ten or 15 years from now, we’re going to look back and say, `That was a quaint debate they had about same-sex couples.  Of course they should be able to get married,'” said Attorney General Doug Gansler.

The next step is Thursday.  If passed, the bill would place the question of gay marriage on the November ballot for voters to decide.

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