The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Baltimore (GLCCB) is congratulating lawmakers and activists after the Maryland Senate passed the Civil Marriage Protection Acton February 23 in a 25 to 22 vote. The House of Delegates passed the marriage equality legislation in a 72 to 67 vote on February 17.

This bill, introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley, allows committed gay and lesbian couples to obtain a marriage license while protecting religious freedoms by providing exemptions for clergy, churches, and religious institutions that choose to not marry gay and lesbian couples.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before Maryland gained marriage equality,” said GLCCB Board President Trevor Ankeny. “We are looking forward to the day when gay and lesbian couples will be celebrating civil marriage in Maryland.”

Following the passage in the Senate and House, Gov. O’Malley signed it into law on Thursday, March 1.

“We are especially proud of groups like Equality Maryland and Marylanders for Marriage Equality who have organized volunteers, raised awareness, and worked with legislators to move this issue forward,” said GLCCB Director Gary Wolnitzek. “Not to mention the brave legislators on both sides who stood publicly on the side of fairness and equality.”

When the law goes into effect, Maryland will be the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

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