Two steps forward, one step back

Last night news broke that the Maryland House of Delegates voted to approved a measure that would legalize “same-sex unions”. This is significant because last year the House blocked such a measure.

“After courting the votes of a couple delegates initially opposed to the measure, House members voted 72-67 to pass the bill. An initial vote count suggested the bill passed with 71 votes, leaving out an affirmative from Delegate John Bohanan, D-St. Mary’s.

Next up is the Senate, which passed a version of the legislation last year 25 to 21. The bill also has the support of Gov. Martin O’Malley, who sponsored it.

Approval would make Maryland the eighth state to legalize the same-sex unions, although opponents have vowed to petition the measure to referendum in the November general election.

The House chamber erupted into cheers and applause as the unofficial tally was posted. In recent days proponents, including the governor, said they were still searching for the last few votes to get to the required 71 votes.”

More from the Maryland Daily Record here. There’s an excellent account of how the new measure was crafted and passed.

Another step forward was realized in Oklahoma as Al McAffrey was easily elected as the first openly gay member of that state’s legislature. He joined the State Senate this week.

A step back? That would be Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey who vetoed the marriage equality legislation passed in the New Jersey legislature earlier this week. The Rev. Susan Russell, writing in The Huffington Post, puts Gov. Christie’s actions into historical context comparing him to Lester Maddox, the former governor of Georgia who gained fame for unswervingly opposing desegregation.

Two steps forward, one step back.

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