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MD Senate approves same-sex marriage bill

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History was made today when the Maryland Senate voted 25-21 in favor of the Civil Marriage Protection Act. Debate spanned two days before final approval was made. This will push the controversial bill to the House of Delegates, which seems to be almost split down the middle on this issue.

“I’m just thrilled,” said the Senate’s openly gay Richard Madaleno Jr., while Senator Simonaire stated that February 24, 2011 would forever be the day remembered as “the day traditional marriage died in Maryland.”

"Today we thank Senators Garagiola, Madaleno, and Raskin for their tremendous leadership. We are proud of all the 25 senators who stood up for the fairness today and voted to support SB 116. We also thank the thousands of Marylanders who have not only worked tirelessly, but also opened their hearts to share their stories and their experiences with their senators to explain why marriage matters. The majority of folks in the Free State support the freedom to marry. Today our State Senate proved they also stand for fairness for all Maryland's families. Marriage and family are about love and commitment, and we are committed to helping pass marriage equality. Today we celebrate - tomorrow we focus our attention on the House hearing on HB 175." - Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Executive Director of Equality Maryland

Supporters of the bill are optimistic that it will pass the House of Delegates, where debates begin on Friday. 71 votes are needed to win. Right now there are 58 sponsors of the bill. Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley has already stated that he will sign the legislation if it makes it to his desk. This would victoriously make Maryland the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

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