February 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm EST | by Kevin Naff
Md. Senate to talk marriage on Tuesday

Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill gets its first hearing in the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 8 beginning at 1 p.m. in Annapolis. Those interested in testifying have until 12:45 p.m. that day to register, but a Senate spokesperson today warned that large crowds are expected so anyone planning to attend should arrive early.

Senate committee hearings are not televised. To listen to the hearing live, visit the Maryland General Assembly website at http://mlis.state.md.us and select the link for “hearings/listen/view” and follow the links to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

The hearing is expected to take the full day, possibly lasting until 9 p.m. The SPJ Committee generally casts votes on Fridays; it’s not yet known if the marriage vote will happen this Friday or the following. But a majority of SPJ committee members supports the bill.

Maryland’s Senate has 47 members; 24 votes are needed for passage. The Baltimore Sun reported this weekend that the marriage bill has 20 solid supporters, with six senators so far declining to express a position on the bill. They are:

  • Sen. John Astle, Anne Arundel County Democrat (800-492-7122, x3578)
  • Sen. Joan Carter Conway, Baltimore Democrat (800-492-7122, x3145)
  • Sen. Ulysses Currie, Prince George’s County Democrat (800-492-7122, x3127)
  • Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, Baltimore and Howard counties Democrat (800-492-7122, x3653)
  • Sen. Katherine Klausmeier, Baltimore County Democrat (800-492-7122, x3620)
  • Sen. James Rosapepe, Prince George’s County Democrat (800-492-7122, x3141)

If you live in one of these Senators’ districts, activists urge that you call to express your view of marriage equality as soon as possible. The numbers listed above are toll-free.

The National Organization for Marriage has been active in the state over the past week and has paid for an extensive robo-calling campaign masked as a “poll” seeking opinions on whether marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman. It is anticipated that NOM representatives and others opposing marriage equality will sign up to testify, but because advance registration is not required, it is unknown who will speak on NOM’s behalf.

The Blade will have reporting staff in Annapolis on Tuesday and we will update the site as developments warrant.

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

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