Wednesday, February 23, 2011
From the Baltimore Sun:
The state senate has just one bill on its agenda Wednesday: The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Act.
"We've cleared the desk," Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller told senators Tuesday morning. "We have nothing else to do tomorrow aside from that bill."
Debate on the contentious measure to allow same-sex couples to marry is expected to run into Wednesday evening and carry over to the following day. Miller has told senators to clear their weekend schedules in case an expected filibuster extends into Saturday.
The bill, which would repeal Maryland's definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, is widely expected to clear the senate — but there are no guarantees. Twenty-four senators have declared their support for the measure, the minimum needed for final passage.
Advocates in the House of Delegates say they are close to having the votes for final passage in that chamber, and Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he will sign the bill if it passes.
Opponents had seven amendments prepared as of Tuesday morning, and were considering others.
Discussion about them could take hours, but might not be as lengthy as many have predicted. Typically, opponents gearing up for a major floor fight will prepare hundreds of amendments.
Read more here.