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Md. same-sex marriage advocates eye passage in New York

After an unsuccessful campaign this spring, Maryland’s same-sex marriage advocates can look to New York for a few pointers when planning their next efforts, which could come as soon as this fall.

New York’s legislature approved same-sex marriages late Friday night after the bill there cleared the final hurdle — the Republican-led state Senate.

The New York Times mapped out the legislation’s path from early strategy discussions to passage in a story in Sunday’s paper. It’s available online here and is a great read, totally worth using up one of your freebies if you’re a free-loading reader like me.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is given much of the credit for being such a staunch supporter of the bill. His office is described as orchestrating the lobbying effort and leaning on undecided lawmakers. Also key were Republican and libertarian money men who promised support  to those who voted yes. So, too, was a coordinated grassroots lobbying effort that worked in concert with the governor’s staff.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he was in favor of the bill here, but didn’t play the active role Cuomo did. (Quick update: here’s a link to Dan Rodricks’ column in The Sun on O’Malley and Cuomo.)

Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill cleared the Senate this year, but was unexpectedly derailed in the House of Delegates. (Here’s John Wagner’s story on Speaker Mike Busch’s role in the same-sex marriage effort.) Supporters then vowed to bring the legislation back in 2012, although it could be back sooner than that. The General Assembly will hold a special session this fall to tweak congressional districts.

Equality Maryland, an advocacy group that lobbied for same-sex marriage in this state, applauded the news in  statement sent after 11 p.m. Friday.

“Equality Maryland looks toward the future of marriage equality as New York becomes the sixth state, along with the District of Columbia, to recognize gay and lesbian couples as full and equal citizens. It’s time that Maryland joins the ranks of states who favor marriage equality for all loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.”