Maryland House vote on marriage today: ‘only one thing is clear: It’ll be a close vote’

The Baltimore Sun’s Julie Bykowicz reports:

The House of Delegates plans to vote today on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, a divisive issue that narrowly cleared the Senate and inspired thousands of Marylanders to register their feelings with their legislators.

Heading into the scheduled 11 a.m. debate, only one thing is clear: It’ll be a close vote.

Supporters and opponents alike believe the 141-member House is nearly evenly divided. Del. Maggie McIntosh, the senior openly gay legislator, said this week that “a healthy handful” of delegates had yet to disclose their voting plans.

“History now rides on the hearts of several delegates,” Sen. Jamie Raskin said Thursday night. The Montgomery County Democrat served as floor leader for the Senate debate. The bill, called the Civil Marriage Protection Act, passed that chamber last month on a 25-21 vote, and Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley has promised to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Bykowicz reports that there’s talk of an amendment that further guarantees that anti-gay religious entities don’t have “to provide services of any kind.” The strategy was to avoid amendments, so the bill doesn’t have to go back over to the Senate. But, our opponents, led by NOM, the Catholic Church hierarchy and the Mormons, are in overdrive, doing every thing possible to stop this legislation from passing.

We’ll know in a couple hours.

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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