- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2012

ANNAPOLIS — The Senate is expected to vote Thursday afternoon on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s same-sex marriage bill and will likely approve the measure, sending the legislation to the Democratic governor’s desk for signing.

The 47-member chamber will meet at 4 p.m. to debate potential amendments and vote on the bill, which would make Maryland the eighth state along with the District to legalize gay marriage. Senators in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly proposed several amendments Thursday morning, including one to change the bill’s effective date and allow more protections for religious groups and parents who oppose gay marriage.

The bill’s supporters resisted all of the amendments — proposed by opposing Republicans and an opposing Democrat — out of concern that altering the legislation would send it back to the House, where lawmakers narrowly passed it last week after a bitter debate.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said he expects senators to pass the bill relatively easily, along similar lines to its 25-21 approval of last year’s gay-marriage bill, which failed in the House.

Mr. Miller, a Prince George’s Democrat, who opposes the legislation, said he expects it to go to a November referendum.


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