Md. gay marriage vote: Bill clears judiciary committee
- (Photo: Brad Bell/ABC7)
The state of Maryland moved a major step toward the legalization of same-sex marriage on Friday as the House of Delegates' Judiciary Committee voted to approve a bill already passed by the Senate without any amendments.
Debate was fierce and often very personal.
"God gave us the ability to discern right from wrong and we know the answer, every single one of us," said Del. Don Dwyer, an Anne Arundel Republican opposed to the measure.
"I think for me, it's because I have a large community of friends and family who are from the LGBT community, and I like to represent the people who I represent," said Del. Kriselda Valderama, a Prince George's County Democrat.
Several amendments were offered in an attempt to spike the bill, including one that would have legalized incestuous marriages in Maryland.
Prince George's County Del. Tiffany Alston offered an amendment to change the bill from marriage to civil unions. That was rejected.
Alston later voted against the un-amended bill in committee.
Much had been made of Alston's and Montgomery County Del. Sam Arora's on-again, off-again support for the bill. Both listed themselves as co-sponsors but changed their minds last week. arora ended up voting for the bill. Alston voted no, "for her constituents" she said. Arora voted yes.
Both hurried from the room without taking questions.
Alston in particular seemed in agony. She personally favored the bill, but as we learned at a Largo grocery store Friday, the majority of her voters are against it.
"I believe that a man should be with a woman, I just believe that," said John Agnew, a Largo resident.
"I'm against it myself personally, I'm against it as a Christian," said Herman Sykes, a Largo resident.
The bill is expected to go to the full House of Delegates next week. Gov. Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign the bill if it passes.
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