Supporters of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage beat back a series of unfriendly amendments to the bill this afternoon -- but allowed one change from a young Prince George's delegate who has gone back and forth on the issue.
The House of Delegates is expected to be back in session at 4:30 p.m., when the final debate and vote is expected.
Del. Tiffany Alston, who last year delayed the momentum on the bill when she walked out of a committee voting session on it, offered an amendment that stays a same-sex marriage law until any court challenges to the validity of signatures was resolved. Also her amendment included a so-called sever-ability clause: If one part of the law was found unconstitutional, the entire law would be tossed out.
Just prior to offering her amendment Alston met privately with House Speaker Michael E. Busch, who left the chamber during the debate. After the session concluded, she was ushered off the floor quickly to the Speaker's office.
Some opponents and supporters predicted that Alston will now flip her vote, giving the Democratic leaders the 71 needed for passage.
Those following the process closely are not making any bets. "I'll believe it when I see 71 green dots on the wall," said Del. Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore delegate who is managing the bill.
Stay tuned for the 4:30 session.