Maryland legislators passes gay marriage bill by 72-65 votes
Washington, Feb 24(ANI): The Maryland legislature has passed the gay marriage bill on a 72-67 votes.
The bill passed in the Senate by 25 to 22 votes and Governor Martin O'Malley, a strong supporter of the legislation, is expected to sign it soon.
A Republican legislator, Wade Kach had earlier called on gay couples who had come to make the case for a gay marriage law that might have proved decisive in its final passage through Maryland's General Assembly.
A special joint committee was formed to table the bill on the floor of the legislature.
"I saw with so many of the gay couples, they were so devoted to one another. I saw so much love. When this hearing was over, I was a changed person in regard to this issue. I felt that I understood what same sex couples were looking for," The Los Angeles Times quoted Kach, as saying.
Opponents of same-sex marriage can collect the 55,736 signatures till the June 30 deadline needed to put a referendum on the ballot in November.
Experts admitted that upholding the legislation would require its supporters to challenge race and religious hurdles that have thwarted similar efforts in the past.
A Marylanders for Marriage Equality spokesperson, Kevin Nix, said the organization would be pressing its case in black communities.
Berean Baptist Church pastor John Lunn expressed confidence the law will be rejected on a popular vote.
"African Americans view marriage as between and a man and a woman; that's all we know. That's because of the strong religious background that is involved in our nature. African Americans have a strong faith - it was all we had to hold on to," he added. (ANI)
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