Initiatives in several U.S. states try to ban gay marriage

A vote is planned Thursday on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages in Maryland, and both sides in the emotional dispute say they expect the amendment will fail in the House Judiciary Committee. "It would be unfortunate if that were to happen," Delegate Don Dwyer, the sponsor of the bill, said Wednesday. He said he was still working to round up support, but expected that Democratic leaders would bury his constitutional amendment in the committee.

A ruling last month by a Baltimore judge striking down Maryland's 33-year-old law limiting marriage to one man and one woman gave a new sense of urgency to the fight over whether Maryland should amend the constitution to ban gay marriages.

In other developments, a coalition of religious and family groups kicked off a drive in Denver on Wednesday to amend the Colorado state constitution to ban gay marriage.

Coloradans for Marriage submitted a proposed amendment that defines marriage between a man and a woman to the state Legislative Council office, the first step toward getting it on the ballot this fall. The group will need the secretary of state to approve the wording and 68,000 valid signatures from registered voters to get the measure on the ballot.

An opposing group, Coloradans for Fairness and Equality, argues the proposal does not strengthen or protect marriage and enshrines "discrimination into the language of the constitution."

Elsewhere Wednesday,, a group that wanted the Florida constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, said it had failed to gather enough signatures to get the measure on the November ballot, reports the AP. I.L.

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