Marriage Equality Bill advances in Maryland

According to Rueters:

(Reuters) – A joint panel of the Maryland legislature approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on Valentine’s Day, adding to national momentum for gay nuptials following advances in California, New Jersey and Washington state over the last week.

Committee approval of Governor Martin O’Malley’s bill on Tuesday moves Maryland closer to becoming the eighth state to legalize gay marriage.

The House of Delegates’ Judiciary Committee and the Health and Government Operations Committee approved the measure 25-18 in a joint vote, a judiciary panel spokeswoman said. The measure is expected to go to the full House on Wednesday, she said.

As the article also notes, a Washington Post Poll shows that around 50% of Maryland residents now favor marriage equality. From the WaPo’s post about the poll:

That is the highest recorded level of support in Maryland in a Post poll, about the same for the rest of the country as measured byanother recent Post survey despite Maryland’s reputation as one of the nation’s most liberal states.

The new poll found a sharp divide among Maryland Democrats based on race. Among whites, 71 percent support same-sex marriage, while 24 percent do not. Among blacks, 41 percent are supportive, while 53 percent are opposed. Maryland has the largest percentage of African Americans of any state outside of the Deep South.

The divide on this issue with respect to race is something to watch out for. We’ve seen how anti-gay bigots use this to their advantage before: white anti-gay religious Conservatives will heavily target African American voters (especially religiously affiliated African American voters) to swing the outcome in their favor.That’s why it’s more important than ever to amp up outreach efforts to the African American community. Too many LGBT organizations have simply ignored African Americans; leaving those who are gay, lesbian or bisexual in their community to (often) fend for themselves with relatively few social support groups of any kind to help them through their struggles. This lack of genuine outreach from LGBT organizations and the media’s continuing lack of LGBT voices from the African American community has only served to make it seem to many as though Gay rights issues aren’t relevant to the African American community. This needs to stop.

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