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House Committee Votes In Favor Of Marriage Equality Bill

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Our state could be on the verge of history. A committee voted 25-18 in favor of a bill that will legalize same-sex marriages in Maryland.

Political reporter Pat Warren has details on the vote.

The House Judiciary Committee and the House Health and Government Operations Committee met Tuesday afternoon to vote on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland.

After passing through a panel of a few dozen lawmakers, legislation to allow same-sex unions is expected to be introduced to the full chamber on Thursday.

The bill moves to the House floor with the support of at least one Republican, Delegate Robert Costa.

Costa voted to move the bill out of committee Tuesday, a day after Gov. Martin O’Malley said the support of GOP lawmakers could be critical to passing the legislation.

The two panels heard the bill jointly in a nearly 11-hour hearing last Friday evening.

Same-sex marriage advocates packed Lawyer’s Mall on Monday night, calling on delegates to vote in their favor or letting them marry with no consideration for gender.

Two weeks ago, it was the advocates for traditional marriage also in huge numbers calling on those same delegates to stand up for marriage as one man, one woman.

O’Malley kicked off the session by introducing a bill that changes the definition of marriage but also provides religious liberties. No religious organization will be required to perform same-sex marriages.

Even with the law, traditional marriage advocates fear challenges in court.

The governor and others in favor of same-sex marriage testified in Friday’s House committee hearing that it is in the best interest of the children of gay and lesbian couples that their parents be allowed to marry. That notion was answered by traditionalists who contend the greater benefit for children is to be raised by a mom and dad.

Should the House and state Senate sign off on the bill, Maryland could become the eighth state to legalize gay marriage.

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