ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—The bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in Maryland is now in jeopardy.
Gigi Barnett reports some leaders are stalling on the vote, but the House Judiciary Committee chair says there will be a vote on same-sex marriage Friday.
Lawmakers will make or break same-sex marriage in Maryland. But after nine hours of hearings on other matters, members of the Judiciary Committee failed to vote despite the governor’s plea.
“I hope the House comes together. I hope they pass the bill that passed the Senate. And I hope they send it to my desk,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Supporters say they can cast the measure even as cosponsor Tiffany Alston—considered a critical vote—is now backing civil unions over marriage.
“I don’t know whether she will or not. I believe that we’ll get the votes in any case, and we’ll move this bill to the floor,” said Del. Luke Clippinger, (D) Baltimore City.
It’s rare for a committee session to last so long into the night. The chairman promises he will take up a vote within the next 24 hours. But opponents say leaders are stalling because they don’t have the votes.
“Clearly, there’s been an attempt now for the last three days to vote this bill on multiple occasions, and it keeps coming up short. That’s a clear indication that the votes keep disappearing that they think they have,” said Del. Don Dwyer.
“The indication is that it would have support to come through the committee,” said Michael Busch, (D) Anne Arundel County.
In a surprise move, the governor said he would support a voter referendum on marriage. Surprising because same-sex marriage opponents do, too—vying to kill it at the ballot box if it gets through.
“Ultimately this is going to probably go to the people on referendum anyway. And I think that we should let the people decide,” O’Malley said.
It is currently unclear how many members of the Judiciary Committee are for or against the bill. The House remains the final hurdle.
Both sides have been heavily lobbying members of the Judiciary Committee. Delegate Alston alone says she’s gotten more than 1,000 calls.