Maryland Senate committee approves gay marriage bill

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:08pm EST

Related Topics

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (Reuters) - A Maryland Senate committee approved a gay marriage bill on Tuesday, sending the issue to the full Senate and moving Maryland closer to becoming the eighth state to legalize same-sex nuptials.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7 to 4 in favor of the bill - supported by Gov. Martin O'Malley - and the full Senate was expected to vote later in the week. The bill was approved last week by the lower house.

"I believe the 25 votes that we had last year will hold," said Senator Jamie Raskin, referring to last year's gay marriage bill which passed the Senate but died in the House.

There may be even be a few more favorable Senate votes this year, said Raskin, a Democrat from Montgomery County.

"Public opinion is changing quickly," he said.

While still controversial, same-sex marriage has been gaining acceptance nationally in recent weeks, with Washington state signing it into law and the New Jersey legislature passing it through both houses, only to have it vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie.

An appeals court has overturned California's ban on gay marriage, enacted through a 2008 ballot initiative.

Washington opponents are attempting ballot initiatives to repeal or block the law, which otherwise would come into effect in June. Same-sex couples can marry in the District of Columbia and six other states: Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York.

Before the committee vote in Maryland, senators debated its religious liberty protections. Under those, a religious group or a nonprofit organization sponsored by a religious group is not required to provide services that violate their religious beliefs unless they receive federal funding, said Raskin, a bill supporter.

For example, the liberty provision would allow the Knights of Columbus to refuse to rent out their meeting hall for a same-sex wedding, and would not require a church counseling service to counsel same-sex couples.

Raskin said the bill provides "legitimate accommodation of religious liberty," adding "I cannot foresee any situation in which these religious liberty protections are struck down."

(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Daniel Trotta)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (5)
crazytown wrote:
“Before the committee vote in Maryland, senators debated its religious liberty protections. Under those, a religious group or a nonprofit organization sponsored by a religious group is not required to provide services that violate their religious beliefs unless they receive federal funding, said Raskin, a bill supporter.”

So what about this whole ‘not paying federal taxes’ deal? Maybe it’s just me but it seems that not paying taxes is no different than receiving federal funding. Oh how I do enjoy the selective mannerisms of these ‘christians’ and their ‘separation of church and state’ joker card.

Oh well. It seems as though the tide is finally turning away from stone age ideals and ‘christian values’.

Feb 21, 2012 4:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Jesus says:
how is it you forget so easily that your bodies are members of My
Body? I would like to see you free from perversion since your bodies are
the temple of My Holy Spirit; I, your God, would like to see you live holy since I am Holy;
creation! by acknowledging Me as your God you will be
able to acknowledge My Law, and thus follow it, but many of you failed
and now your corpses litter this desert …

Feb 21, 2012 5:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
biblethumper wrote:
This is another non-news event. All sodomites are fortunate their parents did not solely practice the sexual orientation. They would not exist.

Feb 21, 2012 5:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus