House committee vote on marriage delayed
UPDATE: A House of Delegates panel is slated to vote today on whether to forward a same-sex marriage bill to the entire 141-member chamber -- but a mid-day voting attempt was stymied by what appeared to be a walk-out of some of the bill's supporters.
Dels. Jill Carter and Curt Anderson, Baltimore Democrats, and Tiffany Alston, a Prince George's Democrat, were not present for what was to be a special voting session on gay marriage. Supporters of the same-sex marriage plan said Carter is trying to draw attention to a separate and unrelated bill she has sponsored that is also pending before the House Judiciary Committee. That measure would presume joint custody of children in divorces.
Anderson, who appeared at the voting session and then left, said he went to search for Alston and Carter. Neither of those delegates could immediately be reached for comment. Chairman Joseph F. Vallario, an opponent of same-sex marriage, delayed the vote until after 1 p.m. bill hearings.
A bare majority of members of the House Judiciary Committee are co-sponsors of the House version of the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which was approved last week by the Senate. If, as anticipated, the House committee votes out the Senate plan today, the full House could begin debate on the divisive issue as early as tomorrow.
The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 25-21, but passage in the House is far from assured. The bill's lead sponsors said last week that they believe they are a few votes shy of the 71 needed.
Judiciary members listened to eight hours and 10 minutes of testimony Friday from dozens of supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage.
Judiciary members after the jump.
Civil Marriage bill sponsors starred.
Chair: Joseph F. Vallario, Jr.
Vice Chair: Kathleen M. Dumais *
Tiffany S. Alston *
Susan C. Lee *
Curt Anderson *
Susan K. McComas
Sam Arora *
Michael A. McDermott
Jill P. Carter *
Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr. *
Luke H. Clippinger *
Neil C. Parrott
John W. E. Cluster, Jr.
Luiz R. S. Simmons *
Frank M. Conaway, Jr. *
Michael D. Smigiel, Sr.
Don Dwyer, Jr.
Kris Valderrama *
Michael J. Hough
Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher *