Vote on same-sex marriage today unlikely
UPDATE: Del. Jill Carter tells WBAL-TV this afternoon that she, too, is now ready to vote in favor of same-sex marriage.
The House Judiciary Committee does not plan to hold a voting session today on whether to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Yesterday, Dels. Jill Carter of Baltimore and Tiffany Alston of Prince George's County -- two Democratic sponsors of the House bill -- skipped a voting session, throwing a wrench into what was to have been a majority vote on the committee to send the divisive issue to the full House of Delegates. Last week, the civil marriage proposal won Senate approval.
Alston said she needed more time to think about the proposal, but just before 2 a.m. today, she sent a statement saying she is now prepared to vote, apparently in favor of legalizing marriage for same-sex couples.
Carter said yesterday that she was withholding support of the same-sex marriage bill to draw attention to other causes, city education funding and her own bill on joint custody of children in divorces.
After the morning House session, Carter refused to speak with reporters, saying The Sun had done her "a disservice" with its coverage. She did not elaborate. This morning, she sent a statement to the Associated Press reiterating the position she took yesterday.
In it, she said she "has always been and remains a supporter of marriage equality" and that by not voting yesterday, she was trying to send a message to leadership that education funding should be "prioritized" in the way that same-sex marriage has been.
She later spoke to WBAL's David Collins, saying she was "absolutely" ready to vote on gay marriage.
"There were some things I wanted to have discussed first," she told WBAL, adding that same-sex marriage "was getting all of the attention." She said she was trying to get Judiciary Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch "to hear me out."
Comments abound on Carter's two Facebook pages. In response to one posting, she writes that she does not want to be made a "scapegoat."