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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 02/24/2011

Same-sex marriage vote in Md. Senate expected Thursday

By John Wagner

Update, 6:20 p.m.:
The Senate has voted 30 to 17 to limit debate on the same-sex marriage bill to one more hour. A final vote is expected around 7 p.m. The vote ensures that there will be no filibuster on the bill before the vote on final passage.

Earlier today, after almost 90 minutes of debate laced with personal stories and references to religion and civil rights, the Senate took a break from the same-sex marriage debate to participate in the election of the state treasurer.

Senate Majority Leader Robert Garagiola (D-Montgomery) opened the debate Thursday morning, saying it "is a historic day for equality. ... It's a historic day for equal justice under the law."

Garagiola, the lead sponsor on the same-sex marriage bill, recalled his marriage to his wife 14 years ago. He said they take for granted more than 400 rights that the state grants to married couples that same-sex partners do not enjoy in Maryland.

Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs (R-Harford) countered that the purpose of marriage "is, and always has been, to bind man and woman."

"The institution predates the benefits," Jacobs argued.

She acknowledged that there are "many types of love," including that between two people of the same gender. But Jacobs said government can treat that love differently, just as it does "love between friends and colleagues."

Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), an openly gay lawmaker, told his colleagues that the legislation was "about embracing all of the families of our state," including his.

He said the legislation was in the tradition of past generations expanding rights and saying, "You are not the other, you are us."

Sen. Joanne Benson (D-Prince George's) recalled her late father, a minister and "civil rights warrior," in explaining her intention to vote against the bill.

Benson said she watched her father marry many people in their home and that she believes marriage should be reserved for people who can have children.

"Two people of the same sex cannot produce children," Benson said.

Original post:

The Maryland Senate plans a final vote Thursday on legislation allowing same-sex marriage, but a quirk in the schedule could delay action until later in the day.


The Senate is scheduled to convene at 9:15 a.m. -- earlier than usual -- but plans to break by 11 a.m. for a joint session with the House of Delegates to elect the state treasurer.


In Maryland, the treasurer is elected by the legislature. Barring the unexpected, Nancy K. Kopp (D), a former delegate from Montgomery County, will be returned for another term. She has served as treasurer since 2002.


When it takes place, the final Senate vote on same-sex marriage is expected to mirror a preliminary vote Wednesday of 25-22 that advanced the legislation after several amendments.


Upon Senate passage, the bill moves to the House of Delegates. The House has scheduled a hearing Friday on its version of the legislation but is likely to take up the amended Senate bill after it arrives.


Stay with PostLocal.com for updates on the timing and outcome of Thursday's Senate.

By John Wagner  | February 24, 2011; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly, John Wagner, Same-Sex Marriage  
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Comments

In his speech right now Senator Smith is going on and on about circles and squares and boxes. In what alternate reality are opponents of this bill living? Just admit it - you don't like gay people. You think they (we) are going to hell. Put your cards on the table - it's the honest thing to do. And it's certainly easier to understand than talk about "drawing a box" around this bill.

Posted by: boomer400 | February 24, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I agree boomer400.

Posted by: helloyellow | February 24, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"Sen. Joanne Benson (D-Prince George's) recalled her late father, a minister and "civil rights warrior" in explaining her intention to vote against the bill.

Benson said she watched her father marry many people in their home and that she believes marriage should be reserved for people who can have children.

"Two people of the same sex cannot produce children," Benson said."

==

I eagerly await Ms. Benson's sponsorship of legislation that prohibits marriage of infertile people.

I won't hold my breath.

I have a lot more respect for people who will honestly say they don't like gay people and they don't think we should have equality under the law than I do for people like Ms. Benson.

Ms. Benson is free to believe anything she wants, and to practice whatever religion that gives her comfort. She is not free, however, to use the power and resources of the government to force those of us who disagree with her to conform to her chosen dogma.

Posted by: kpharmer | February 24, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"Sen. Joanne Benson (D-Prince George's) recalled her late father, a minister and "civil rights warrior" in explaining her intention to vote against the bill."

What a disappoint you are Sen. Benson, to your fathers couragous, proud legacy of seeking justice and equality for all.

It's probably a good thing for him that he isn't alive today to see your immoral hateful discrimanatory actions.

I hope your God forgives you, and the voters don't.

Shame on you.

Posted by: MarilynManson | February 24, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

in his aw-shucks way, Senator Glassman came close to being honest by saying that's just not how they do things up in rural Maryland - but even he just implied, rather than said out loud, that he thinks homosexuality is intrinsically wrong and people who engage in it are sinning. (Senator Simonaire's bizarre outburst was less an argument than a temper tantrum.) You have to think that someone will let his or her guard down during the final vote tonight but we'll see.

Posted by: boomer400 | February 24, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

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