A Maryland Senate committee could vote on same-sex marriage as early as Tuesday, setting the stage for the legislation to get to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s desk by the end of the week.
Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said in an interview Sunday that his panel will vote “quickly”on the gay nuptials bill that narrowly cleared the House of Delegates on Friday night.
A vote Tuesday would allow the bill sponsored by O’Malley (D) to be passed on the Senate floor this week, Frosh said. If there are delays, he expects a full Senate vote by early next week.
Both Frosh’s committee and the full Senate passed similar legislation to legalize same-sex marriage last year. The vote on the Senate floor was 25 to 21, with one opponent missing. No senators have announced a change in position since last year.
Opponents of the bill could attempt a filibuster in the Senate, which takes 29 votes to cut off. Last year, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who opposes the bill, worked to head off a filibuster.
Frosh said he fully expects there would be enough votes this year, if needed, to break a filibuster and allow a vote.
If the bill is amended by the Senate, it returns to the House for additional consideration. Otherwise, once passed, the legislation heads straight to the governor.
Opponents have vowed to petition the bill to the ballot, which would give Maryland voters the final say in November.