MARYLAND HAS BECOME the eighth state in the US to legalise same-sex marriage.
The Senate passed the gay and lesbian marriage bill following a close 25 to 22 vote yesterday. The bill will now be sent to Governor Martin O’Malley for his signature, reports the Baltimore Sun.
Richard Madeleno, an openly gay senator in the Maryland Senate said it was a “remarkable day”. US House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called it “an extraordinary victory”.
“This issue has taken a lot of energy, as well it should, and I’m very proud of the House of Delegates and also the Senate for resolving this issue on the side of human dignity, and I look forward to signing the bill,” O’Malley said in a brief interview after the Senate vote.
Despite the cheers and celebrations, legislation does not automatically mean implementation of gay nuptials. The law will likely be petitioned to referendum and voters will have their say by the end of the year.
Opponents of the bill will have to collect almost 56,000 signatures before November to put the legislation on the ballot paper.
-Additional reporting by AP