Activists ram gay marriage bill through House

Today was a dark day for those who believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, as the gay rights crowd – a definite squeaky wheel in the overall process of life – elbowed aside tradition and browbeat the House into passing HB438 by a vote of 72 for and 67 against. (Initial reports had it 71-67.)

After killing off several amendments earlier in the day, one of which would have been to substitute the phrase “civil union” for marriage and another to automatically send the bill to referendum first, the House this evening moved the bill on to the Senate, which is expected to pass it.

Last year the Senate passed the bill initially only to see the House effort fail when enough votes could not be found late in the session. Strangely enough, the House composition is essentially unchanged this year but several key Delegates have changed their votes in the interim. Delegate Heather Mizeur, a key proponent of gay marriage, tweeted that opponents of gay marriage have pursued “ugly charges of deal making and shady morals” but there are indeed allegations of jobs being promised to opponents who change their vote, among them Delegate Wade Kach, a Republican, and Democrat John Donoghue.

Obviously we will see what happens in the coming weeks with these Delegates and others who had their arm twisted.  Meanwhile, it’ll be easy to spot who flipped their votes from 2011 to this year* once the tally is placed online.

The Senate should take up the bill in the next couple weeks; in the meantime the referendum process will be getting underway as opponents organize for what is expected to be a bitter and caustic fight leading up to a vote this November. It’s likely the gay marriage referendum will share the ballot with a referendum on the Maryland DREAM Act, a bill passed last year to give in-state tuition to the children of illegal aliens.

As for HB438 proponents, I have seven words: where do I sign the referendum petition?

* I stand corrected. The House last year didn’t vote on SB116 (the 2011 version of the gay marriage bill) as Delegate Vallario made a motion to recommit to committee, which when passed killed the bill.

Update: The Washington Post has an AP tally of the votes. Eastern Shore delegates were 9-0 against the bill. The two Republicans who voted “yes” made a big part of the difference – think the Democrats will give them any credit for that two years hence? Not gonna happen.

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