Voices Heard in Maryland: Majority of Senators Promise to Support Marriage Bill

The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act was approved by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee yesterday, and later Sen. James Rosapepe (D) said he would vote for the bill, making him the 24th and final vote needed for passage.

Freedom to Marry has had staff on the ground working with Equality Maryland, helping to grow the majority of Marylanders who support marriage, and encouraging them tell their legislators about it. Now it looks like the lawmakers listened.

In an email to voters, Rosapepe wrote, "I intend to vote for the bill as it was reported out of committee with a strengthened conscience clause to respect the views of religious denominations which do not recognize same-sex marriage... I appreciate so much the time you and many other constituents have taken to share with me your reasons for supporting the bill."

The bill will be debated on the Senate floor next week. It could be blocked a filibuster, but Republican Senate President Thomas Miller says he thinks he has the votes to close debate. He himself has said that even though he vote against the bill itself, he will vote against a filibuster.

The measure would then go to the House, which has broader support for marriage. A committee hearing has been scheduled for February 25th. Governor Martin O'Malley has promised to sign the bill.