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Contentious Debate Expected In Md. House On Same-Sex Marriage Bill Friday

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Set for a showdown. Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill may come down to just one or two votes. And Friday, it’s in the hands of the delegates.

Meghan McCorkell has more on this contentious debate.

That debate was supposed to take place Thursday night. But with the vote so tight, delegates postponed the debate another day. It’s a move some call political wrangling.

On the floor: House Bill 438, same-sex marriage. But which way the vote will go is still in question.

“The situation is very volatile. And a change of one or two votes could determine the outcome of the bill’s passage or failure,” Del. Anthony O’Donnell, the House minority leader, said.

But Thursday night, the House recessed after just 15 minutes. The only order of business: an amendment that would push back the effective date of same-sex marriage to January 2013 instead of this October. It passed in a move that could appease some opponents.

“The amendment allows both sides to– especially the opponents– to petition the issue to the ballot,” Del. Galen Clagett, D-Frederick County, said.

Opponents of the bill say they want answers about why one Republican delegate who voted against the bill in committee has apparently changed his vote.

That delegate– Wade Kach of Baltimore County– proposed the new amendment. He refused to answer questions.

“I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” he said.

His change of heart could be a deciding factor for the bill.

“I think people on a moral issue like this should vote their conscience,” Del. Michael Hough, R-District 3B, said. “And I think what’s we’re seeing now is people are getting their arms twisted. There’s backroom deals going on. And this is not the way you should pass something like this.”

With both sides fired up, fireworks are expected when the debate hits the House floor.

At this point, the future of the bill is still unclear. A vote could come as early as Friday.

The House is set to begin debating the same-sex marriage bill at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

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