House committee passes same-sex marriage bill
The House Judiciary Committee has voted 12-10 to pass the same-sex marriage bill, sending it to the full House of Delegates. The 141-member chamber is expected take up debate as early as next week.
Del. Tiffany Alston, who had signed on to the bill as a sponsor but wavered and walked out on a planned vote earlier this week, voted against it. Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr., a Democrat who does not support same-sex marriage, saved the legislation by voting to send it to the full House.
Before the final vote, Alston, a Prince George's County Democrat, attemped to amend the bill to establish civil unions instead of same-sex marriage. The effort drew praise from Republicans on the committee, but cricitism from her fellow Democrats. It failed.
Del. Jill Carter, the other holdout earlier this week, voted for the bill. The Baltimore Democrat supports same-sex marriage, but said she wanted to draw attention to education funding in Baltimore and her own legislation on child custody in divorce cases.
The bill's ride through the House already has been rockier than its passage in the Senate last week, raising new questions about its prospects in the full chamber. The House is expected to take up the debate next week, potentially the entire week.
Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he will sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.
Thanks to Julie Bykowicz, reporting from Annapolis.