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Maryland Senate Debates Gay Marriage; Holds Preliminary Vote

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same sex marriage, gay marriage
Hellgren Mike 370x278 (2) Mike Hellgren
WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — History could be made in Maryland as early as Thursday.  A same-sex marriage bill is one step closer to passage after a close vote in the Senate.

Mike Hellgren breaks down the passionate debate.

The Senate will hold a final vote Thursday and then it’s on to the House.  After that, it will go to the governor, who says he’ll sign it into law.

This topic has generated passion, no matter what side you’re on.

“Every senator and delegate who comes down here comes down with their own set of values,” said Senator Nancy Jacobs.  “Mine come from my family and my faith.”

“My partner and I are married.  We got married in a church.  We believe our relationship is a marriage and it’s a matter of whether or not we can get a license from our state,” said Senator Richard Stuart Madaleno, Jr.

If the legislation passes, Maryland would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C., all places where it’s legal.

Many opponents, like Maryland’s Senate president, would like to see same-sex marriage brought to a vote of the people.  That referendum could come as quickly as November of next year.

“The people will be able to vote objectively without the far left or the far right dominating the discussion,” said Mike Miller.

Amendments make clear churches don’t have to marry gay couples and religious organizations don’t have to provide insurance to same-sex couples.  For the bill’s sponsor, that’s acceptable.

“The churches can control what takes place in the church hall, but the constitution and the government control what takes place in city hall,” said Jamin B. Raskin.  “It’s a deeply personal thing, falling in love and deciding to spend one’s life with someone and to decide to have and to hold and to bear life’s joys and burden together.”

The debate was civil and Miller cautioned against making too many amendments.

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