Maryland Senate Passes Marriage Bill
February 24, 2011
I'm thrilled to report that the Maryland Senate just passed the Civil Marriage Act by a vote of 25 to 21.
I first went to Maryland last November, after the fall elections indicated that we could have the needed majority in the both legislative chambers to pass a long-awaited marriage bill. However, everyone knew that passage would mean a ton of hard work and was by no means a forgone conclusion.
Since then, I have been back in Maryland in December, January, and February working on the ground with Equality Maryland and a broad range of coalition partners to make this the historic year that gay and lesbian couples get the recognition they deserve as a family.
In the last few months, organizers have worked hard to encourage Marylanders to speak up about their support for marriage. And Marylanders did! Thousands of calls and emails have gone to legislators in the last few months, with messages about love, commitment, and family – telling the stories of how gay and lesbian couples want to get married for the same reasons everyone else does.
While on the ground, I have had the opportunity to meet many of these Maryland couples – some who have traveled to get married out of state in DC or as far as California, some who despite being together for 30 years have not yet married because they only want to do it in their home state, and some newer couples excited by the prospect of getting to make a lifelong commitment to each other with the reality of marriage in Maryland.
One couple that especially sticks in my mind is Chris and Juan, who have been together for 14 years and are successfully raising 5 children together. No small feat! They talked about how they sit down for dinner together every night, and have 'game night' or 'movie night' every Friday – activities that many families aspire to do! The only thing missing from their family is marriage.
Meeting these couples is a concrete reminder of why I do this work. They have the same struggles as other married couples – getting kids to school on time, paying the mortgage, and finding time to be together in the middle of hectic lives. And they have the same joys too – remembering their first date or when they knew he or she was the one, and getting to see their dreams of having a growing family come true.
I am so excited that today we are one step closer to these families being properly recognized – and I am looking forward to the House of Delegates making a similar vote in the coming weeks so that all Maryland families are recognized from here out. But to make that happen, Delegates need to hear from you! So, if you’re in Maryland, call your Delegate today and let them know that you strongly support the Civil Marriage Act and hope that they will, too.
You can easily send an email to your representative by clicking here.