Md. House Committee Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)–Maryland is one step closer to recognizing same-sex marriage. On Friday, a House panel signed off on the historic legislation.

Political reporter Pat Warren has reaction and what happens next.

Accusations of arm twisting, manipulation and deliberate deception colored the voting session. But same-sex marriage advances to the House floor.

The delegates voted almost exactly as they were expected to.

Baltimore Del. Jill Carter says she received  the assurances she was after when she first withheld support of the same-sex marriage bill this week. But Prince George’s County Del. Tiffany Alston did not. She proposed an amendment that would make it a civil union bill–rather than a marriage bill–and got shot down in the process.

“To tell us we are not allowed to amend something if we earnestly believe we should be able to is wrong,” Alston said. “And to tell us we have to vote a certain way is wrong.”

“I mean, this was a cockamamie title to begin with, talking about religion as your leadoff quote,” said Mike McDermott, R-Somerset County. “And the Senate eliminated that, and I thought ‘That’s great. They did half the work.’” 

Opponents say calling it civil union would mislead folks at the ballot box if there is a referendum next year. They say it sounds more like a contract rather than what it actually does, which is change the definition of marriage from that between one man and one woman to two people in a couple.

“To claim that the voters are either going to be confused by the title of this bill or that fraud is going to be committed is enough to make a cat laugh,” said Luiz Simmons, D-Montgomery County.

Same-sex marriage passed in the committee to 12-10 and delegate Luke Clippinger, an openly gay member of the committee, is grateful.

“I’m just so happy that we’ll be able to get this to the floor,” Clippinger said.

The full House gets revved up for that debate next week.

WJZ will continue to follow the bill and let you know when the full House votes on it.

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