January 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Md. marriage bill gets Feb. 8 hearing

The Maryland State Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee has scheduled a public hearing on Feb. 8 for a bill calling for legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland.

The hearing will discuss the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, a same-sex marriage bill introduced into the Senate and House of Delegates last week, as well as a civil unions bill that a Republican lawmaker said he was considering introducing, according to a committee staff member.

Both supporters and opponents of the marriage bill have said supporters appear to have enough votes to pass the bill in both the Senate and House of Delegates. Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he would sign the bill. Opponents have said they plan to file petitions for a voter referendum on the measure if it passes in the legislature.

Judicial Proceedings Committee staffer Lynn Hudson said committee rules allow members of the public to sign up to testify as a witness at the hearing beginning at 9:30 a.m. on the day of the hearing. The hearing is set to take place at in Room 2 East at the Miller Senate Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, Md.

The statewide LGBT group Equality Maryland and the national same-sex marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry were expected to send representatives to testify at the hearing. Also expected to testify is a representative from the National Organization for Marriage, the lead organization opposing same-sex marriage in states across the country.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • The Maryland General Assembly is closer to passing marriage than it has ever been, and we will probably see it approved this year. The damn National Organization of Marriage will certainly try to get it put on the ballot alah a public referendum, so they can get the law overturned the way they did in Maine. I’d like to think that the people of Maryland would do the right thing and vote to sustain same-sex marriage, but I guess I have lost confidence in the public given the way they voted for discrimination in California and Maine, (both of which are liberal states). We really have to be prepared to double our efforts in Maryland if and when it passes same-sex marriage.

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