Alston exploring civil unions amendment in Md.
Del. Tiffany T. Alston (D-Prince George's), who has been rethinking her support of Maryland's same-sex marriage bill, said Thursday that she is researching an amendment that would offer civil unions instead.
"I have what I believe to be a solution," Alston told reporters. "I don't know if it will garner any political will or favor."
Alston is one of two delegates who threw the same-sex marriage bill off track this week by skipping a planned vote by the House Judiciary Committee. It remained unclear Thursday afternoon when the committee might try to vote again.
Supporters had been counting on the votes of Alston and Del. Jill Carter (D-Baltimore) to reach the 12 votes needed on the committee to send the bill to the House floor with a favorable recommendation. Carter has indicated she is willing to support the bill but has been out sick Thursday.
Alston did not indicate how she would vote on a same-sex marriage bill if her amendment fails in committee.
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), meanwhile, on Thursday afternoon strongly encouraged the House to pass the same bill that passed the Senate last week on a 25-to-21 vote.
"I hope the House will come to together," O'Malley told reporters. "I hope they pass the bill that passed the Senate, and I hope they send it to my desk."
O'Malley, who previously supported civil unions, said the bill that passed the Senate strikes the right balance between expanding rights and protecting religious freedoms.
Several Senate amendments to the bill provide exemptions for religious groups that do not want to partipate in same-sex weddings or ceremonies.
| March 3, 2011; 4:08 PM ET
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