Panel weighs two proposals on gay marriages

March 04, 2010|By Julie Bykowicz

On the day that Washington began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a Maryland Senate committee heard a proposal that would bar the state from recognizing such unions.

Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, wants to override an opinion issued last week by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler saying that the state should extend benefits and rights to same-sex couples lawfully married elsewhere. Same-sex marriages currently are not legal in Maryland, but senators on Wednesday also considered a plan by Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., a Montgomery County Democrat, to legalize them.

More than a dozen religious leaders from across the state traveled to Annapolis to testify in favor of Stone's bill and against Madaleno's. Same-sex couples and civil rights groups also weighed in.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which will vote on whether to send those proposals to the full chamber, traditionally has been closely divided on gay marriage issues.

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