Same-sex marriage bill stalls in Md.

March 12, 2011 at 12:10 AM
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ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 12 (UPI) -- A bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in Maryland was effectively killed for this year Friday after an emotional debate in the House of Delegates.

The bill was returned to committee, a move that appears to end its chance of passage in the current legislative session, The Baltimore Sun reported. Speaker Michael Busch said it will not be brought back for a floor vote before the session ends next month.

Advocates for same-sex marriage claimed at least a partial victory -- the Maryland Senate approved the bill and the measure got out of committee to House floor.

Delegate Peter Murphy added himself to the list of openly gay members of the House during the debate. Murphy, a Democrat from Charles County in the Washington suburbs, said most of his colleagues were aware of his sexuality but that he wanted to make sure there were no "misunderstandings."

"When you put a face on an issue and people share their stories, I can't imagine there weren't people on the floor who didn't come away with the perspective of how important it is to treat everyone equally," he said. "In that way, what happened today was not a total loss."

Republicans were united against gay marriage, while Democrats were split. Emmett Burns Jr., a black Democrat from Baltimore, said gay rights groups should not use the rhetoric of the civil rights movement.

"Those who want to ride on our coattails are historically incorrect," he said.

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