A committee realignment will likely ensure that the marriage bill will finally move to the Senate floor for a vote. In the 2010 election, Democrats gained two Senate seats, which would facilitate the passage of the marriage bill this year. 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.
Last year, an opinion from Maryland’s Attorney General Douglas Gansler recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states as valid in Maryland.
Morgan Meneses-Sheetes, Executive Director of Equality Maryland, stated, “We really feel like 2011 is the year.” Equality Maryland’s website clarifies, “With the return of so many pro-equality incumbents and the addition of new leaders ready to stand up for fairness, Equality Maryland is confident that 2011 will hold new opportunities to advance equal treatment under the law.”
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.