UDPATE @ 12:30 PM: GOP Senator Allan Kittleman has announced his support for the same-sex marriage bill, according to the Washington Post. This gives momentum to the marriage bill. A very good development:
Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) formally announced his support Wednesday morning for legislation that would allow same-sex marriages in Maryland, saying he would vote for the bill “because of my firm belief in equal rights.”
The Washington Blade posted Kittleman’s statement here.
Fortunately, there are only 11 Republicans in the 47 seat Maryland State Senate. So, the fact that the GOP Senate caucus doesn’t support marriage isn’t a big deal. The interesting news is that the vote wasn’t unanimous, according to Annie Linskey from the Baltimore Sun:
A majority of Maryland Senate Republicans — but not all — oppose legislation to recognize gay marriage, caucus leaders said Tuesday.
The group voted behind closed doors to take a formal position against a bill that would allow same-sex couples to apply for and receive marriage licenses. Official caucus positions must reflect the views of at least eight members.
“We met that threshold,” Senate Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs said in a statement. “The caucus expects extensive debate on this bill and we look forward to discussions of why so many Marylanders are passionate about this issue.”
Apparently, the hold-out was Senator Allan Kittleman. We wrote about him last month when he gave us his job as the Senate Minority Leader last month over backlash for his support of civil unions.
More from the Sun:
Kittleman wouldn’t say Tuesday how he’d vote on gay marriage if it came to the Senate floor. A committee hearing on the bill is scheduled for next week.
The gay marriage bill has 18 co-sponsors in the Senate. It needs 24 votes to pass.
Maryland has a short legislative session, which ends on April 11th. So, the votes will happen soon. The polling is good. The Governor is on our side. But, remember, we could be facing a referendum to repeal the new law on the 2012 ballot.