Freedom to Marry Calls on Maryland Legislature to Pass Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Act

With the Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Protection Act introduced today in the Maryland State Legislature, Freedom to Marry, the campaignto win marriage nationwide, calls for its swift approval:
"'Loving and committed gay and lesbian couples throughout Maryland are taking care of one another, raising families, contributing to their communities, and paying their taxes.  When state officials refuse those committed couples legal marriage licenses, it is state-sponsored discrimination and needless and unfair hardship, and that must end,’ said Evan Wolfson, Founder and Executive Director of Freedom to Marry. 'Governor O’Malley has promised to sign a bill ending their exclusion from marriage and supporting their commitment.   The legislature needs to move swiftly to give him a bill to sign.'
"In February 2010, Maryland’s Attorney General Doug Gansler [a Freedom to Marry Voice for Equality]issued an opinion holding that Maryland should respect the out-of-statemarriages of same-sex couples the same as it does all others.  Since then, couples like Nicole and Kate Waybright of Silver Spring, MD, who were married in California in 2008, continue to have to cope with the uncertainty of what protections their family will actually have in Maryland, and frequently must explain their marriage in a way that other couples don’t have to.  Though they live just minutes from one of the state’s best hospitals, they had to travel to Washington, DC (where same-sex couples have the freedom to marry) for the birth of their first child, Cole, to ensure that Nicole’s name would be on the birth certificate.  All of this uncertainty and instability will be cured when Maryland ends the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. 
"Lea Gilmore, Maryland Black Family Alliance, said, 'The time has come for this blatant discrimination to end. We're all walking hand in hand, heart to heart, soul to soul, working for equality for all Marylanders.'
"A 2007 Williams Institute report on 'The Impact on Maryland’s Budget of Allowing Same-Sex Couples to Marry' found that ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in Maryland would 'have a positive impact on the state budget of approximately $3.2 million annually.'  To read the full report, please click here.
“'Ending the exclusion of loving and committed couples from marriage helps families while hurting no one,' Wolfson said.  'Gay and lesbian couples can marry in 12 countries on four continents –including five states here in the US and our Nation’s Capital – and the sky has not fallen on any of them.'
"Currently same-sex couples have the freedom to marry in Iowa, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.  Internationally, same-sex couples can marry in The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, and Mexico City.