The marriage equality bill in Maryland -- the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012 -- will be sent to the full House for a vote, following committees' passage of the bill tonight.
According to The Capital of Annapolis:
The House Judiciary and Health and Government Operations committees voted 25-18 to send the same-sex marriage bill to the floor for all 141 delegates to vote on the bill. One delegate did not vote.
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) issued a statement on the vote:
"Today's vote on the Civil Marriage Protection Act is a significant step forward for the passage of this bill in Maryland. Together, we will continue our work to ensure that our State protects religious freedom and provides equal protection under the law for all Marylanders."
Additionally, The Capital reports that the bill now has Republican support in the House, with Del. Bob Costa (R-Anne Arundel County) coming out in support of the bill and voting for it in committee.
"I think it's not a state function to decide who can marry," Costa said before the committee meeting.
Costa acknowledged his vote may hurt him within his party.
"I do what I believe is right for the people. I don't think that matters. I represent constituents and not a party," he said.
To that end, Kevin Nix, the spokesman for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, told Metro Weekly, "Today's committee vote got us one step closer to making all Maryland families stronger. It was good to see some bipartisanship."
It was not yet clear whether the bill had majority support of the full House, which did not approve the bill in the previous session.
The House committees heard testimony on the bill on Feb. 10.
A similar bill passed the Maryland Senate in 2011 by a vote of 25-21, but was sent back to committee after supporters failed to gain the votes necessary for passage in the House of Delegates.