A marriage equality bill may have enough votes to move to the House floor in Maryland and the issue may soon advance in Rhode Island. That’s in today’s State Marriage Watch:
— MARYLAND: The two delegates who walked out of a House Judiciary Committee preparing to vote a bill that would extend marriage to gays and lesbians are now ready to vote for the legislation, the Washington Times reports. Delegates Tiffany Alston (D) and Jill Carter (D) said Wednesday they are prepared to provide the 11th and 12the votes needed to move the bill to the House floor. The Maryland Senate passed the measure last week. Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is flooding the state with misleading direct mail warning residents about the “dangers” of same-sex marriage to children and families.
— NEW HAMPSHIRE: The House Judiciary Committee voted today to take repeal of the state’s same-sex marriage off the table this year. The 15-0 vote “effectively means two bills repealing the 2009 law won’t return to the full House of Representatives until early next year. There was no debate in committee about the move.”
— RHODE ISLAND: House Speaker Gordon D. Fox says he is “doing everything in his power” to move forward the state’s same-sex marriage legislation. A vote in the House Judiciary Committee could come as soon as March 10th, “the day that the Senate has scheduled a hearing on the Senate version of the legislation.” “Quite frankly, I know that we’re going to have the governor’s budget coming in next week, and the marriage-equality discussion is an important discussion but it’s the kind of discussion that can quickly dominate and [hinder] your ability to handle other issues,” Fox said.
— WYOMING: Lawmakers in the senate defeated a measure that would ban the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages, leaving the issue to the Wyoming Supreme Court. State senators John Hines (R) and Bill Landen (R) cast the deciding votes against the measure and “said they opposed it because it didn’t guarantee same-sex couples access to Wyoming courts to get a divorce or for other disputes.” Last week, lawmakers killed a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
— UTAH: On Monday, the Utah state senate “declined to schedule a hearing for a bill that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in housing and employment, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.”
— MICHIGAN: On Wednesday, the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee approved a resolution to overturn ruling by the Civil Service Commission that would extend “benefits to same-sex partners and others living with 35,000 state employees.” Next week, the resolution, which is being framed as a cost-reduction measure, will move to full Senate, where it is expected to pass. It faces a more uphill battle in the House, where Republicans hold a smaller majority.
For a complete overview of the latest developments in the marriage battleground states of Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, California, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wyoming, Iowa, and New Mexico, click here.