Here’s some good, non-DADT, related news. The prospects for passing marriage equality legislation in Maryland are looking bright — and the Governor will sign it:
A majority of senators on a key committee in Maryland now favor legalizing same-sex marriage, making it increasingly likely that the state will join five others and the District in allowing such unions.
Membership changes on the panel, where same-sex marriage bills have previously died, are among a handful of shifts produced by last month’s elections. Collectively, they appear to have tipped the balance on the most high-profile social issue the General Assembly will consider during its upcoming 90-day session.
Republican gains Nov. 2 in other state legislatures are expected to lead to more conservative social policies. But Democrats in Maryland bucked the trend, adding two seats to their majority in the Senate. Moreover, when the General Assembly convenes next month, a few senators who lost primaries will be replaced by Democrats more supportive of same-sex unions.
“This has truly been a transformative election on this issue,” said Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), an openly gay lawmaker who has sponsored same-sex marriage legislation and plans to push for passage this session. “I could not have hoped for a better result. You can see a real path to enacting this legislation.”
There’s a lot of work to do to get there. And, Equality Maryland will be leading the charge. I know national groups, including Freedom to Marry, are already helping out. The Maryland General Assembly has a pretty short session. The House and Senate will be in session from January 12 through April 11, 2011.
Be advised, if marriage passes, we could be facing another battle measure:
If a same-sex marriage bill is approved, advocates on both sides say they expect opponents to take advantage of a provision in Maryland that allows residents to petition recently passed laws to the ballot. A successful signature drive would put the measure on hold, pending the results of a statewide referendum in November 2012.