As debate was set to begin in the Maryland House of Delegates, gay marriage advocates were still looking to lock-down a couple key votes.
The 71 votes needed to pass the measure in the House still hung in the balance Wednesday afternoon, less than a day before the chamber is expected to begin discussion on the bill.
Delegate Patrick Hogan, considered to be a swing-vote, says he will not support the bill. The Eastern Shore Republican says he would have supported a bill to grant gay couples civil unions although gay marriage advocates say that could not have been a fair compromise.
Opponents of the bill worry that it will force educators to teach about gay marriage in public schools and threaten religious freedoms of those who provide wedding services.
Delegate Sam Arora says he hopes that a bill can be passed that will provide equality this year and the best that can be done is a civil union’s bill.
The Salisbury Daily Times reports that while there is no shortage of House Democrats who are expected to oppose the bill, two potential advocates John Olszewski, and Arora, did not make their vote known at the bill’s committee hearing.
If the House and state Senate sign off on the bill, Maryland could become the eighth state to legalize gay marriage.