The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB 116), which would grant marriage rights to same-sex couples in Maryland, passed the state Senate yesterday by a vote of 25 to 21. The bill awaits a vote in the Maryland House of Delegates. If the bill is passed by the state legislature, Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) has publicly declared that he would sign the bill into law.
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign stated, “Today the state Senate recognized the simple truth that recognizing the love and commitment of same-sex couples under state law will strengthen families and communities. This is a matter of fairness and equality and will put Maryland on the leading edge of giving loving same-sex couples the rights, responsibilities, benefits, and dignity that marriage entails.”
Currently, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington DC allow marriage of same-sex couples. Six states, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii allow same-sex couples to form civil unions or domestic partnerships, which carry many of the benefits of marriage. Yesterday Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the Hawaii civil union legislation into law.