On Friday, the Maryland House of Delegates referred the state’s same sex marriage bill back to committee. Since the Maryland General Assembly will end its session in early April, the bill will not be up for debate again until January 2012 at the earliest. Governor Martin O’Malley (D) expressed his disappointment about the stalled bill to the Washington Post, “I would have hoped that we could have resolved this issue and then let the people decide.”
Equality Maryland said its press statement, “Our setback today only strengthens our determination to redouble our efforts to ensure that our voices are heard and our rights are protected. We know our cause is just. We know that a growing majority of Marylanders believe in the same values of fairness and equality.”
The Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee passed the bill by a vote of 12-10 in early March. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB 116), a same-sex marriage bill, also passed the state Senate on February 24 by a vote of 25 to 21.
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 some of the benefits of marriage.