Kittleman breaks with Senate GOP caucus on Maryland same-sex marriage bill
Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) parted ways with fellow Senate Republicans on Tuesday as they voted as a caucus to oppose a same-sex marriage bill pending in the Maryland General Assembly this year.
In an interview, Kittleman said he thought the caucus position was wrong and would announce his intentions in coming days. He has previously announced that he would sponsor a bill allowing civil unions between both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Kittleman stepped down as minority leader shortly after making that announcement.
Kittleman's willingness to support a marriage bill would provide a significant boost to advocates of the legislation, who expect a close vote on the Senate floor in coming weeks. Advocates of the bill had not been counting on any Republican support in the chamber.
The Senate caucus position is not binding on any of its members, nor are senators required to disclose how they voted. In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Nancy C. Jacobs (R-Harford) said at least eight of the 12 GOP senators had voted to oppose the same-sex marriage bill -- a sufficient number to establish a caucus position.
"We met that threshold," Jacobs said following the closed-door vote. "The caucus expects extensive debate on this bill and we look forward to discussions of why so many Marylanders are passionate about this issue."
In a statement, Senate Minority Whip E.J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne's) said: "A majority of the Senate Republican members felt this position best represented the views of their constituents."
A hearing on the bill is scheduled next week in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, where a majority of members have already announced support of the bill.
| February 1, 2011; 2:56 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly, John Wagner, Same-Sex Marriage
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