UPDATE @ 10:41 AM via the Kevin Naff at the Washington Blade: While six members of the House of Delegates sent the letter to their colleauges, there’s now another openly gay member of that body:
Del. Peter Murphy (D-Charles County), a divorced father of two who also has two grandchildren, said his colleagues and family have known for years that he is gay.
“I have never denied [being gay],” Murphy said, “I just presumed people knew.”
Murphy’s announcement brings to eight the total number of openly gay and lesbian members of Maryland’s legislature, the most of any state in the country. There is one openly gay state senator — Rich Madaleno — and now seven members of the House of Delegates.
The debate on marriage gets underway today in the Maryland House of Delegates. The gay and lesbian Delegates sent a letter to their colleagues yesterday, via Julie Bykowicz at the Baltimore Sun:
On the day before the House of Delegates was expected to begin debate on same-sex marriage, lawmakers received a letter from six gay colleagues.
“Vote yes because you know it is the right thing to do,” the delegates wrote this morning. “Vote yes because you want to stand on the right side of history. Vote yes because every family in Maryland needs the protections that marriage provides.”
The haters are out in force, too:
This afternoon, opponents of gay marriage from Pennsylvania played bagpipes outside the lawmakers’ offices, displayed a banner that read: “God’s Marriage = 1 man & 1 woman,” and encouraged like-minded motorists to honk.
We know the Catholic Church hierarchy, Mormon Church leaders and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) are out in force. They’re desperate to kill the bill in the House. And, it’s close:
Delegates have heard from hundreds of constituents, received a flood of e-mails from supporters and opponents and, in some cases, struggled internally with how to vote. Several of them — including co-sponsors — have changed their positions. Dozens remain publicly uncommitted.
“The vote is close, probably an even split,” said Del. Maggie McIntosh, the most senior of the six openly gay delegates. “A healthy handful of people are still making up their minds.”
The vote on final passage is expected on Friday. We’ll have updates over the next couple days.
And, if you live in Maryland, call your Delegates today. Have your friends and family call, too. Keep up the pressure.