Hearings begin on marriage bills this week in Maryland and Rhode Island

The key committee in the Maryland State Senate will hold its first hearing on the proposed marriage law tomorrow afternoon:

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would legalize same sex marriage.

The committee is not expected to vote on the bill this week.

Under the bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, same sex couples could be married in a civil ceremony, or in a religious ceremony if the clergy member agrees to perform the marriage ceremony. Supporters say no clergy member would be forced to perform same sex marriage.

We need 24 votes in the Maryland State Senate. According to the Washington Post’s public whip count, we’re at 20 right now. Over the weekend, The Baltimore Sun profiled one of the undecided Senators: Katherine Klausmeir, a Democrat from Baltimore County.

Rhode Island’s House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on Wednesday:

A hearing on a bill that would legalize same sex marriage in Rhode Island is set for this week at the state house.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on the bill Wednesday.

This week, the battle is engaged in those two key states. Equality Maryland and Marriage Equality Rhode Island are leading the charge. If you live in Maryland or Rhode Island, get on the phone. Call your legislators. You know the opponents are making their calls.

One good thing is that in both states, the Governors are on our side: Martin O’Malley (D) in Maryland and Lincoln Chafee (I) in Rhode Island.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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