Gay rights legislation took two different paths in Maryland and Virginia today.
In Maryland, the bill to legalize same-sex marriages passed through a Senate committee and the full Senate is expected to vote on the bill by the end of the week.
The bill already passed the House—albeit barely—and is expected to make its way to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s desk, who sponsored the bill.
In Virginia, legislation that would allow private agencies to deny adoption to gay prospective parents is on its way to Virginia's governor, who has said he will sign it.
The Senate voted 22-18 Tuesday to pass the legislation, which the House had already passed.
North Dakota, according to The Associated Press, is the only other state with such a law.
* With Maryland Gov. O’Malley serving as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, these two very different bills in these bordering states isn’t all that surprising.
O’Malley and McDonnell will face-off once again this Friday at the State’s Solutions Conference hosted by Politico. The talk will take place at 8 a.m. at the Newseum.
The two governors most recently debated each other on CNN’s “State of the Union,” offering opposing views on who deserves credit for the recent economic improvements.
* The bill in Virginia that would allow private agencies to deny adoption to gay parents is one of a number of socially conservative bills that has made its way through the legislature this session.
This is just the second time since the Civil War that the GOP in Virginia has held the governor’s mansion, the House and the Senate at the same time, and the state's GOP has gained national attention for its socially conservative agenda.
The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus sent this message out to its email subscribers today, commenting on the national attention the personhood and ultrasound amendment have been getting:
“Last fall we wrote to you with the prediction that Virginia would become a "national laughing stock" if Republicans were allowed to take control of the Senate, and with it our entire state. Well, we are sad to say that just a month after Republicans strong-armed their way to control of the Senate, despite a 20-20 tie, our prediction has come true. Virginia has indeed become a national laughingstock.”
But Bearing Drift, a blog that dubs itself as Virginia’s conservative voice, wrote Tuesday that some Republicans may be getting cold feet about the ultrasound bill. The blog quoted a piece from Virginia political strategist Paul Goldman:
Governor McDonnell is going to delay the implementation of the ultrasound mandate bill circling like the albatross in Moby Dick. The public doesn’t want it, he doesn’t need it, and there is a iron law of politics: you don’t get selected the VEEP on a winning ticket when Saturday Night Live skits are part of the package put together by a Presidential nominee’s team vetting potential running mates.
Two legislators — one a conservative Republican — speaking Tuesday on the condition of anonymity said one idea officials have discussed is making the ultrasound legislation optional rather than mandatory.
Other options are to pass the bills by or park them in committee. Either of those moves could effectively shelve the legislation for the year.
* Long touted as a top vice-presidential pick, a new poll doesn’t even mention Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell as a leading GOP choice.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio placed first with 8 percent of Republicans and independents preferring him as a vice-presidential candidate, according to the Farleigh Dickenson University survey.
Rick Santorum and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—who Republicans had hoped would run for president—came in second and third respectively.
Other candidates mentioned included Mitch Daniels, Sarah Palin and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The survey was open ended and respondents were not given choices of potential VP candidates, but had to pick their own.
McDonnell has been campaigning around the country for Romney this primary season and has been a well-known surrogate for the presidential hopeful at big campaign events.