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Same-Sex Marriage Battle Intensifies In Maryland

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- There's an emotional new debate over the future of same-sex marriage in Maryland. It's an issue dividing the state and now the battle intensifies as it shifts to the House of Delegates.

Derek Valcourt spoke with people on both sides of the fight.

Although Southwest Baltimore couple, Heather Moyer and Amy Sems, had a wedding ceremony in Massachusetts eight years ago, they're now hoping Maryland's House of Delegates follows in the path of the Senate which voted to approve same-sex marriage. Then their relationship can be legally recognized in the state of Maryland.

"It just would be nice to have that, to be viewed as equal, to have the same rights and viewed the same under the law," said Moyer.

But opponents of same-sex marriage say they haven't given up yet.

"We kept our powder dry for the big battle on the House floor," said Delegate Emmett Burns.

Burns and many of his Republican counterparts promise to lobby fellow delegates to defeat the bill. They are hoping to stop Maryland from joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. as places where same-sex marriage is legal.

But if they fail to stop it in Annapolis, they're confident that voters will stop it at the polls. Opponents promising to submit the more than 55,000 signatures they'll need to get a referendum on the ballot in November 2012.

"California is the most liberal state in the nation. It did not pass there and if it did not pass there I don't think it will pass in Maryland. Maryland is not nearly as liberal as California," said Burns.

Same-sex marriage advocates worry opponents would use the referendum to begin a campaign of what they see as intentionally misleading information. But gay and lesbian couples like Moyer and Sems believe history will be on their side.

"It's time for this. It's time, and I would love to see Maryland take the lead on this and I think we can do it," said Moyer.

The committee could vote on Tuesday.

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