Md. House sets hearing on same-sex marriage, anticipating Senate passage
Just about everyone expects a close vote next week on a same-sex marriage bill in the Maryland Senate. But one key constituency apparently likes its chances: leaders of the Maryland House.
House leaders have scheduled a hearing on same-sex marriage legislation for Friday, Feb. 25. Assuming the bill hits the Senate floor early next week, its fate in that chamber could be known by then.
House Majority Leader Kumar B. Barve (D-Montgomery), the lead sponsor of the legislation in his chamber, said that the timing of the hearing before the Judiciary Committee reflects optimism about the bill's prospects in the Senate.
"It shows that people believe the bill's going to pass the Senate," Barve said, acknowledging that it wouldn't make sense to set the hearing date for next Friday if House leaders thought the bill would die in the Senate before then.
Technically, the House has only scheduled a hearing on the House's version of the bill. But House aides said the Senate bill could be added to the hearing schedule once it has passed the Senate.
House leaders are planning to act on the Senate version of the bill. That way, it can be sent directly to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) if it is not amended.
The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has scheduled a vote on the bill for Thursday. There is little doubt about the outcome on that panel: seven of the 11 members have publicly committed to supporting the bill.
| February 16, 2011; 4:14 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly, John Wagner, Same-Sex Marriage
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