The following is an excerpt from a story by The Baltimore Sun:
“Lawmakers have already put together several bills to legalize same-sex unions — ensuring the topic will see robust debate in the Maryland General Assembly’s 90-day session that began last week. Advocates, and even many legislative leaders, believe some form of gay marriage or civil unions will pass this year.
“This morning, Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola of Montgomery County introduced the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB116), the preferred plan of gay-rights activists. The legislation would permit same-sex couples to marry but would not require churches to perform the unions.
“The House version of that bill is scheduled to be introduced next week by House Majority Leader Kumar Barve of Montgomery County. Equality Maryland, the majority leaders and other lawmakers and same-sex couples will promote the twin bills at a press conference Tuesday in Annapolis.
“Also percolating this year is Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons’ Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (HB55), which carries the same name as the majority leaders’ bill but appears to be slightly different. Simmons is a Montgomery County Democrat and a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which will listen to testimony on all of the marriage bills.
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