By Annie Linskey
7:58 PM EST, February 8, 2012
Eight Maryland religious leaders make a pitch for same-sex marriage in a web video released today by Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the latest in a series put out by the advocacy group.
Leaders include Rev. Stephen Anderson of the Pilgrim United Methodist Church in Silver Spring who says he wants his gay and lesbian neighbors to have "the same legal protections my wife and I have enjoyed for years." Also featured is Rev. David T. Gilmore, a Baptist minister, who says: “I have not always walked this walk or been a part of this struggle.”
The video is part of an increased push by advocates to show that some members of the clergy approve of legalizing gay marriages. Yesterday the group put out a supportive video from Rev. Al Sharpton, an MSNBC host who also invited Gov. Martin O'Malley to talk about the bill on his show.
Maryland's Catholic Conference and a number of African-American ministers have been influential convincing lawmakers to pull support from the bill, particulary in the House of Delegates. Last year a same-sex marriage bill passed in the Senate, but was pulled from the House floor because leaders were a few votes shy of the 71 needed for passage.
Both sides will have time to make their case Friday, when two House panels hold a joint hearing on O'Malley's bill. Also the two committees will hear testimony on another measure, introduced by Del. Don Dwyer, that would change the state's constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
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