Supporters of same-sex marriage picked up a second Republican supporter in the House of Delegates on Thursday, shortly before floor debate of the measure was delayed for several hours.
Del. Wade Kach (R-Baltimore County) said he would switch sides and support a bill sponsored by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to legalize gay nuptials.
In a statement, Kach attributed his decision in part to testimony at a hearing on the bill last week.
“While no one event or conversation prompted me to come to this decision, I was significantly moved by the testimony of families — who are raising children in a loving environment and deserve every right to enjoy the same protections and responsibilities that our laws provide for others,” Kach said.
Kach’s support was first reported by the Baltimore Sun.
A final House vote on O’Malley’s bill could come as early as Friday. The outcome remains too close too call. O’Malley has been actively courting GOP backers in recent weeks.
Delegates were scheduled to start debate on several proposed amendments Thursday morning, but the bill was special-ordered until later this afternoon. Several delegates said they expect to return to the measure after 5 p.m.
Kach joins Del. Robert A. Costa (R-Anne Arundel) as the only GOP supporters of the bill in the House. Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Howard) is co-sponsoring the bill in his chamber.