When a bill legalizing same-sex marriage came up in the New York State Senate in 2009, the measure was defeated by a wide margin. Democratic leaders, who controlled the chamber, failed to muster enough votes on their side, and the entire Republican caucus opposed the bill.
Last week, when the Senate considered legalizing same-sex marriage for a second time, it was the Republicans who made the difference: Four of them joined 29 Democrats to approve the measure, giving the bill enough votes to pass. That startling turnaround capped weeks of intensive lobbying and personal anguish, especially among the Republicans, all of whom had either voted against the bill in 2009 or vowed during their campaigns to oppose same-sex marriage.
Now, fresh off their victory in New York, gay rights advocates are turning to Maryland, where same-sex marriage is “on the verge” of becoming law, according to Patrick Wojahn of Equality Maryland. And some are hoping a similar change of heart among Republicans will tip the balance.
“I think the Republicans can provide crucial votes,” said Allan Kittleman, a Republican member of the Maryland State Senate. “It could be very similar in the Maryland House of Delegates as it was in the New York State Senate, with the final margin being the Republicans.”