Friday, February 24, 2012

Maryland Makes It Eight

Add Maryland to the growing number of states that recognize marriage equality.

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s bill to legalize same-sex marriage quickly won approval in the Maryland Senate Thursday night. The measure now needs the governor’s signature.

Cheers erupted in the Senate chambers after the 25-22 vote was read out loud and the group of seven gay and lesbian lawmakers from the House of Delegates rushed to the middle of the floor to embrace supportive senators.

“I think I’m speechless,” said Sen. Richard Madaleno, the only openly gay senator. “This is a remarkable day.”

O’Malley, a Democrat, shook hands with activists after the vote. “This has been a difficult issue for many people,” he said. “But as one Maryland we came together around the principal of human dignity. … It does feel good to have this issue resolved.”

The vote makes Maryland the eighth state to approve gay nuptials — and the fourth state legislature to do so in the past 12 months.

It will probably face a referendum in November — the forces of bigotry are ever hungry and need feeding — but it’s still a good day for equality.

(On a personal note, my two brothers — both straight — live in states that have legalized same sex marriage, while I’m here in Florida where the chances of gay marriage are about as likely as the winter Olympics being held in Hialeah.)