Maryland Marriage Bill Clears Hurdle

Monday, March 7, 2011 - 3:24pm

Bill that could legalize same-sex marriages headed for vote in House of Delegates.

A bill which would legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland has cleared a final legislative hurdle and will now go to a vote before the full House of Delegates.

The Friday vote followed debate on several amendments, including at least two to change the name of the bill, one to include bigamy and one to allow marriage to any relative.

The last one was withdrawn; the others were defeated.

Democratic Delegate Tiffany Alston pleased Republicans with an amendment to change marriage to civil unions, but that was defeated 10-10.

Same-sex couples in Maryland would have the same full marriage rights as heterosexuals under the bill, which passed the state Senate last week.

It includes protections for religious groups and institutions to keep them from being forced to participate in gay weddings.

Governor Martin O'Malley has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

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