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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maryland Marriage Vote Tally: 23. Two new senators express support for Maryland marriage bill

By Yusef Najafi -

Valentine's Day brought good news for same-sex couples in Maryland hoping to legally tie the knot in the state. According to the Baltimore Sun, Sen. Katherine Klausmeier and Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer have both come out in support of Senate Bill 116, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.
''It's all about fairness,'' Kasemeyer told the Sun.
Equality Maryland, the state's equal rights organization, on Monday, Feb. 14, held a news conference in Annapolis ''to promote awareness of the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act (HB235) and the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB116/ HB175).''
According to Equality Maryland, ''500 carnations will be delivered to lawmakers representing each call made to district representatives asking them to support the marriage equality bill.''
The new developments leave three senators -- all Democrats -- who have not declared which way they will vote on the bill. They are: Sen. John Astle, Sen. Ulysses Currie, and Sen. James Rosapepe.
Sen. Joan Carter Conway has not released an official statement in support of the bill, but according to Lisa Deane-Polyak, vice president of the board of directors at Equality Maryland, Conway has told her constituents that if Senate Bill 116 receives 23 votes, she will be grant 24th vote in favor it. Twenty-four votes are needed in the State Senate for the bill to pass.
Kasemeyer and Klausmeier's support brings the number of Senators in favor of its passage to 23.
A vote is expected this week following last week's senate hearing.

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Equality Maryland Action Fund

Equality Maryland is Maryland's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization working across the state to end discrimination against LGBT Marylanders.
We are poised to pass bills securing marriage for gay and lesbian couples and gender identity anti-discrimination laws. And now more than ever, we need your support in achieving victory.
Your gift of $25 will help us win during this legislative session. Join us today and invest in a better future for all LGBT Marylanders!


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