In a vote of 7 to 4, the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee passed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB 116). The bill will go to the state Senate for a vote next week. If passed, the legislation would confer marriage rights to same-sex couples in Maryland.
Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, stated, “This is a historic moment for marriage in Maryland, and truly shows that with continued work, civil marriage can be a reality for all loving and committed couples in Maryland very soon.”
Last year, an opinion from Maryland’s Attorney General Douglas Gansler recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states as valid in Maryland.
Currently, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington DC allow marriage of same-sex couples. Five states, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, allow same-sex couples to form civil unions or domestic partnerships, which carry many of the benefits of marriage.