A Republican state senator who LGBT activists feared could derail Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill by introducing a competing civil unions measure announced on Wednesday that he was dropping his civil unions proposal and would vote for the same-sex marriage bill.
Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Howard & Carroll Counties) said he lacked sufficient support for a civil unions bill from both his Republican and Democratic colleagues and could not secure the votes needed in committee to bring the bill to the Senate floor.
“Consequently, with the civil union legislation no longer being a viable option, I was put in the position of deciding whether to support same-sex marriage or voting to continue the prohibition against same-sex marriage,” Kittleman said in a statement.
“As a strong proponent of personal and economic liberty/freedom I simply could not, in good conscience, vote against SB 116 [the same-sex marriage bill],” Kittleman said.
“I know that some may contend that since the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman, Maryland should continue to prohibit same sex marriage,” he said. “First, let me state that I am a strong follower of Jesus Christ…However, while my faith may teach that marriage is between a man and a woman, our government is not a theocracy,” he said.
“As the state senator from District 9, I represent everyone in my district, regardless of their faith. Therefore, while my spiritual life is extremely important to me, it cannot be the sole basis for my decisions as a state senator,” Kittleman said.
The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which calls for legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland, is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, Feb. 8, before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Sources familiar with the legislature say the bill could come up for a vote before the full Senate as soon as the following week. Most political observers believe supporters have the votes to pass the bill in the Senate and the House of Delegates, which is expected to take up the measure in March.