Maryland majority leaders sponsoring marriage equality bills

Posted by John Wagner on

"The majority leaders in both the Maryland House and Senate are acting as lead sponsors of bills this session legally honoring the marriages of same-sex couples, a symbolic move meant to underscore the momentum behind the legislation.

"A bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery) [left] was introduced Friday.

"Garagiola's lead role 'shows the very strong support there is within the body, and the Democratic caucus in particular,' said Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), an openly gay lawmaker who has served as lead sponsor of similar bills in previous years.

"Madaleno is among 17 senators who are co-sponsoring the bill with Garagiola this year.

"Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said he expects his panel to hold a hearing on the bill within the next two to three weeks.

"Frosh said he believes there are sufficient votes on the 11-member committee to send the bill to the Senate floor, where he called prospects for passage 'a source of great speculation.'

"House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery) [right] is planning to introduce similar legislation in his chamber.

"Barve said that neither he nor Garagiola is sponsoring the legislation as part of their leadership positions and that all members are free to vote their conscience on the issue."

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