Maryland Catholics work to derail same sex marriage bill

Maryland Catholics work to derail same sex marriage bill (photo courtesy of Les Chatfield via Flickr )

Maryland Catholics went to Annapolis Monday night in larger numbers than ever before—in efforts to derail the state's same sex marriage bill.

The Maryland Catholic Conference had more than 600 people register for the annual lobbying night—an all-time high. Organizers say 50 people signed up Friday night after the passage of the same sex marriage bill in the house.

For Mary Ellen Russell, this is an eleventh hour effort to stop same sex marriage from becoming legal in Maryland.

“People across the state are clearly up in arms about this issue,” said Russell, who is the Executive Director of the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Monday, several hundred Catholics waited in long lines to meet with senators and lobby against the measure.

“What's concerning so many people is the haste with which this is happening and I think that's really woken up their urgency to come down and say 'slow down for just a second and think about this,’” Russell said.

Following Friday’s passage of the bill in the House of Delegates, the Catholic Conference held its largest ever lobbying night.

Derek McCoy of the Maryland Family Alliance said “we're trying to tell our Senators, don't rubber stamp this.”

They're hoping to derail the legislation before an expected final vote this week.

“We're looking at every senator and we're going to crawl under every rock so to speak,” McCoy said.

Lobbying efforts are targeted toward senators like Montgomery County's Brian Frosh—who voted for the measure last year when it passed out of the chamber.

“I don't think anybody's vote is going to change. I think it would be unlikely. It's happened before but I would expect that a majority of the senate still supports it,” said Democratic Senator Frosh of Montgomery County.

Frosh's judicial proceedings committee votes on the bill Tuesday.

“I think it's reasonable to expect a final senate vote by the end of the week could be the beginning of next week,” Frosh said.

Frosh says he will not accept any amendments to the same sex marriage legislation before it heads to the senate floor. If it passes as expected, opponents are planning a petition drive to bring the issue to a ballot referendum.

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