Maryland Senate passes marriage equality bill!

The Maryland Senate passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act tonight, a bill to end same-sex couples’ exclusion from marriage. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign, all of which are part of the on-the-ground work to advocate for the freedom to marry in Maryland, released a joint statement today calling on the House of Delegates to follow suit and send the marriage bill to the governor, who has promised to sign it into law.

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stated:

Loving, committed couples in Maryland are a step closer to being able to better care for and protect themselves and their families thanks to today’s vote by the state Senate. We’re talking about people who simply want to have access to responsibilities, rights and protections already available to many others. We thank Equality Maryland for its leadership on this issue, as well as the senators who recognized our common humanity and stood for fairness today. We urge members of the House of Delegates to do the same.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry said:

Today the state Senate has acknowledged the love and commitment of same-sex couples throughout Maryland who are taking care of one another, raising families, paying taxes, and contributing to their communities. When these couples join in marriage, their commitment will be strengthened, their families will share in the support and safety-net marriage brings, and it will take nothing away from anyone else. Stronger families mean a stronger community for everyone — a win-win in these tough economic times.

HRC President Joe Somonese stated:

Today the state Senate recognized the simple truth that recognizing the love and commitment of same-sex couples under state law will strengthen families and communities. This is a matter of fairness and equality and will put Maryland on the leading edge of giving loving same-sex couples the rights, responsibilities, benefits, and dignity that marriage entails, as have five other states and the District of Columbia. We thank Equality Maryland for their hard work in gaining marriage equality and the thousands of HRC members across Maryland who spoke up for fairness.