The Maryland House of Delegates has voted to effectively kill for this year a bill that would have allowed same-sex marriage in Maryland.
The House approved on voice vote a motion to send the bill back to the Judiciary Committee, an acknowledgment by supporters that it did not have sufficient votes to pass on the floor.
The bill cleared the Senate two weeks ago on a 25-to-21 vote, and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) had pledged to sign it.
Advocates for the bill had hoped Maryland would join five other states and the District in allowing same-sex marriages. The bill had significant momentum coming out of the Senate but ran into resistance in the Democatic-led House from African-American lawmakers from Prince George’s County, who cited religious opposition in their districts, and conservative Democrats in Southern Maryland and the Baltimore suburbs.
O’Malley said he’s “disappointed” by the decision. He said he expected the issue to ultimately be decided by voters and had hoped it would have moved forward to that end Friday.