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Maryland lawmakers pass marriage equality bill

February 23, 2012

Maryland lawmakers have approved a marriage equality bill, putting the state on track to become the eighth to allow same-sex couples to marry. The bill passed the Senate today and the House of Delegates last week. Gov. Martin O’Malley introduced the measure.

Just last month, O’Malley gave a speech at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, the largest convening of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates in the country. In his remarks, the governor reiterated his support for the marriage bill and pledged to sign it.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is a member of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition, and has worked with local equality advocates over the years to secure protections for LGBT people and their families. This includes providing Equality Maryland with financial, technical and staff support throughout the 2011 legislative session.

The Task Force, through its Faith Partner Organizing Project, has also been working with faith communities in Maryland on public education efforts leading to this victory.

Maryland is poised to join Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington state, along with the District of Columbia, in allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Statement by Rea Carey, executive director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

Maryland and marriage equality will certainly make a lovely couple. Maryland is the Free State, after all. To be able to share and celebrate one’s love and commitment both publicly and legally is a lifelong dream for thousands of same-sex couples and their families. It’s thrilling that Maryland is poised to make this a reality by becoming the latest state to treat its families fairly. This has been a long journey of changing hearts and minds, of breaking down walls, of shining a spotlight on our common humanity. Congratulations to Equality Maryland, Marylanders for Marriage Equality and all those who have been part of the journey leading to this victory.

While today’s vote marks a tremendous victory, the push for marriage equality will continue into the fall. The next step is likely to be the November ballot, where voters will support or oppose marriage equality. The Task Force continues to stand with its coalition partners in the effort to keep changing hearts and minds, and having the critical conversations about why marriage matters to us.

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