Maryland Senate Passes Bill Legalizing Marriage For Same-Sex Couples
ACLU Urges Swift Action In The House of Delegates
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2011
ANNAPOLIS - The Maryland state Senate today approved a bill that would legalize marriage for same-sex couples. SB 116 - the Civil Marriage Protection Act - now heads to the House of Delegates for consideration. If it passes there, it will be sent to the desk of Governor Martin O'Malley, who has indicated that he will sign it.
Previously, same-sex couples in Maryland were granted limited rights. The Civil Marriage Protection Act would grant same-sex couples the full benefits of marriage, making Maryland the sixth state to do so. In addition, the bill protects the constitutional right to free exercise of religion by protecting objecting religious institutions from being forced to perform civil marriages.
Marriage for same-sex couples is legal in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Iowa and the District of Columbia.
The following can be attributed to Melissa Goemann, Legislative Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland:
"This is a proud day for all Marylanders who value the rights of loving couples to take care of each other. Excluding committed same-sex couples from marriage is discriminatory and irresponsible. We urge members of the House of Delegates to act swiftly and positively, so that marriage equality legislation can to go the desk of Governor O'Malley for his signature as soon as possible."
The following can be attributed to James Esseks, Director of the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project:
"Following the monumental announcement by President Obama that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act's refusal to respect the marriages of same-sex couples is unconstitutional, it's fitting that the Maryland Senate has taken another important step forward in extending the national trend of fairness and dignity for all families. Committed same-sex couples deserve the security, protection and respect for their relationships that only comes with marriage."