CNN: ‘MARYLAND SET TO EXPAND GAY RIGHTS, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE’
According to CNN:
“Maryland is poised to become the sixth state to recognize same-sex marriage as proponents say they believe they have enough support to pass such a measure in the upcoming legislative session.
“The expansion of gay rights appears to have gained significant traction as Maryland’s General Assembly begins its 90-day session Wednesday. Not only are Democrats optimistic about their chances of approving same-sex marriage, but a leading Republican, sensing momentum on the issue, has instead countered with a proposal to grant civil unions to gay couples.
“Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley has publicly stated that he would sign a marriage bill into law. Maryland then would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C., in sanctioning same-sex marriages.
“Maryland has been inching toward granting greater rights and protections for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Last year Democratic state Attorney General Doug Gansler offered a legal opinion recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. ‘We’ve been marching in this direction for a while now,’ said Democratic state Delegate Heather Mizeur.
“…Democrats in Maryland fared much differently in the November elections than they did in rest of the nation when nearly two dozen state legislative chambers switched from Democratic to Republican control. Despite losing six seats in the House of Delegates, Maryland Democrats picked up two seats in the Senate and have maintained their supermajority in each chamber. The two-seat pickup in the Senate is viewed as the final hurdle needed for passage of the marriage bill. Given those dynamics, the Republican leader of the Senate is offering an alternative.
“Acting as an individual and not as head of his caucus, Sen. Allan Kittleman told CNN that he wants to grant gay couples all the rights afforded to straight married couples under Maryland law without the stigma of religion.
“…But many other privileges of marriage, especially those regarding federal tax and entitlement programs, cannot be granted to same-sex couples, regardless of their states’ marriage laws, due to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That law requires the federal government to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.”
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