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Maryland Delegate Considering Dropping Support For Marriage Bill In Favor Of Civil Unions

By Igor Volsky  

"Maryland Delegate Considering Dropping Support For Marriage Bill In Favor Of Civil Unions"

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MD Del. Tiffany Alston (D)

On Tuesday, Maryland Del. Tiffany Alston (D), a co-sponsor of a bill to expand marriage to the state’s gays and lesbians, walked out of the House Judiciary Committee’s scheduled vote on the measure because she needed “a little more time to weigh my final decision.” The following day she announced her intention to vote for the bill saying, “I believe all people should be treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation. … I have resolved that if and when the chairman calls the vote I will be ready to vote based on what I believe to be right.”

But now WTOP is reporting that Alston has had another change of heart and is considering substituting the marriage bill with a measure that would legalize civil unions in the state:

Alston says the change she is considering would allow Maryland residents to get civil union licenses if they wished to be married, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.

She says she believes the change would be “a good balance,” but does not know if it would receive support from other committee members.

“I have what I believe to be a solution,” she says. “I don’t know if it will garner any political will or favor.”

Proponents of marriage equality are against the change, even as the bill struggles to make its way out of Committee and on to the House floor. Alston is the necessary 12th vote to move the bill forward, but a vote won’t come before tomorrow since Del. Jill Carter (D), the other lawmaker who boycotted the measure on Tuesday, is out sick.

Meanwhile, Del. Sam Arora (D), who promised to co-sponsor the bill, is also having second thoughts and has reportedly told some constituents that he will now vote against it. Some donors are now asking Arora for their money back. Last month, the bill suffered another setback after Del. Melvin Stukes (D), a co-sponsor of the measure for the past four years, withdrew his sponsorship. He claimed that he thought the bill, which is titled the Civil Marriage Protection Act, “would have given same-sex couples the right to obtain civil unions rather than marriage.”

Update

Metro Weekly reports Arora will vote against the marriage bill on the floor.

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‹ State Marriage Watch: Maryland To Advance Marriage Bill, New Hampshire Postpones Marriage Repeal Effort

Maryland Delegate Sam Arora Will Vote For Marriage Bill, But Will Support Referendum ›

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