On February 17th, 2012, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill that will legalize same-sex marriage. The Senate also passed the bill on February 23rd, 2012.
The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted seven to four in favor of the bill. There were 72 votes in favor of the bill, 67 against it, with two people absent when it was voted in the House. The bill was voted on 25-22 in the Senate. If passed, the law will not be able to take effect until January 2013.
The Gay/Straight Alliance, a club at Centennial High School that works to provide a support group for LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) students in Centennial, has kept its members up to date on current issues. The same-sex marriage bill was mentioned during one of their recent meetings, eliciting enthusiastic responses from some of the members.
“It’s freaking amazing!” said Blair Dettmer, a junior at CHS and member in GSA. “I hope it will get us marriage. I’m looking forward to tolerance and us being equal.”
Last year Maryland tried to pass a bill similar to the one that was recently voted on. The bill was passed in the Senate, but was vetoed in the House. If Governor O’Malley passes the bill this time around, Maryland will be the eighth state to legalize gay marriage. Before the law takes place, Maryland residents will have the opportunity to petition the bill in a referendum in November.
Similar bills have been made into laws in seven other states: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill on February 13th, making Washington the seventh state. Washington D.C. and the District of Columbia have also legalized same sex-marriage.
In New Jersey both houses passed a gay marriage bill, but Governor Chris Christie vetoed it. Christie also called for the civil rights of gays to be put up to popular vote. The state legislature has until January 2014 to override the veto.