Md. House Panels Hear Gay Marriage Arguments

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– A marathon debate over the state’s same-sex marriage bill goes late into the night. Things get heated for opponents and supporters during a House of Delegates hearing in Annapolis.

Meghan McCorkell was there as both sides pleaded their case.

There was emotional testimony from both sides during the House hearing that started Friday afternoon and stretched well into the night.

There was a volley of opinions in Annapolis over same-sex marriage.

“I am not an equal citizen in my home state of Maryland.”

“I’m gay and I’m opposed to this legislation.”

“The best dad I ever had is a woman.”

In front of a packed house, Governor Martin O’Malley implores delegates to vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

“It is not right or just that the children of gay couples should have less protections under the law than the children of other families in our state,” he said.

Opponents disagree and are pushing for a constitutional amendment to support traditional marriage.

“The law is that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Del. Emmett Burns (D-Baltimore County) said.

“To redefine marriage is to risk destroying the basic cell upon which a stable society was built,” Julia Vitmar, who opposes same-sex marriage, said.

One notable opponent was 14-year-old Sarah Crank.

“If it’s legalized, more people would feel like it’s OK and deprive more kids of having a mom and a dad,” she said.

Crank’s father says his daughter received death threats just last week after testifying in front of a Senate Committee.

For supporters, this is a very personal fight.

“I’m fighting for my relationship. I don’t know how many of you had to stand before a tribunal of your peers to declare that your relationship is worthy of recognition,” Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County) said.

Emotions evident as one of the most contentious bills hangs in the balance.

It is a handful of undecided members who will decide the vote. The House needs 71 votes in favor of the bill for it to pass.

A similar bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed in the Senate last year but fell short in the House of Delegates.

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