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Sen. Klausmeier also to vote yes to gay marriage

Sen. Katherine Klausmeier said Monday that she has decided to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, putting the measure within a breath of passage in the Senate.

"I just weighed all of the options," said the Baltimore County Democrat, who earlier told The Sun that she was torn about the issue. "It's about fairness."

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Klausmeier becomes the second previously undeclared senator in a day to lend support to advocates, who plan a rally Monday evening. Earlier, Sen. Edward Kasemeyer said he has decided to back it. (The two are pictured on the right.)

That gives the legislation a solid 23 yes votes, out of 24 needed for Senate approval. Sen. Joan Carter Conway has said that if she appears to be the 24th vote, she will "pray really hard" and decide what to do.

With the Senate's approval, the same-sex marriage plan would move to the House of Delegates, where it has at least enough votes to make it out of committee and to the floor for a full-chamber debate.

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More on Conway -- and a full list of senators and how they plan to vote -- after the jump.

Here's what Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a Baltimore Democrat, told The Sun earlier this month:

Conway is one of several senators who wishes the debate were about civil unions. She said she whole-heartedly supports the concept, though "it took me a long time to get there."

She is uncertain whether she can make the leap to backing gay marriage. She finds herself torn between her religious background and her sympathies for minority groups.

As a black woman, she said, she views herself as a "double minority" — and so is uncomfortable with casting a vote that would cause anyone to feel subjected to discrimination.

Conway said her district, which includes Ednor Gardens, Waverly, Guilford and other North Baltimore neighborhoods, is about evenly split on the issue. The three delegates in her district are co-sponsoring the House version of the legislation.

Conway said she would not support the Senate bill if it appears to be failing. But if there are 23 "yes" votes on the board, she said, she will "pray really hard" and make her choice.

Reached Monday by phone, Conway said she is "still praying" and "probably close" to making a decision.

A group of her constituents were among hundreds of advocates who rallied on the plaza in front of the State House Monday evening to support the bill. Lorie Benning, 41, of Northeast Baltimore had a bouquet of carnations for Conway. (Photographed on the right).

"I think it needs to be passed," Benning said. She plans to marry her partner over the summer and said she hopes to have the ceremony in Maryland.

Sun reporter Annie Linskey contributed.

Question: Do you intend to vote for or against the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act?

For

Sen. James Brochin, Baltimore County Democrat
Sen. Bill Ferguson, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Jennie Forehand, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Brian Frosh, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Rob Garagiola, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Lisa Gladden, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Verna Jones, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, Baltimore and Howard counties Democrat
Sen. Delores Kelley, Baltimore County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Nancy King, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, Howard County Republican
Sen. Katherine Klausmeier, Baltimore County Democrat
Sen. Richard Madaleno, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Roger Manno, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Nathaniel McFadden, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Karen Montgomery, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Paul Pinsky, Prince George's County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, Baltimore Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Victor Ramirez, Prince George's County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Jamie Raskin, Montgomery County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. James Robey, Howard County Democrat
Sen. Ronald Young, Frederick County Democrat (sponsor)
Sen. Bobby Zirkin, Baltimore County Democrat (sponsor)

Against
Sen. Joanne Benson, Prince George's County Democrat
Sen. David Brinkley, Carroll and Frederick counties Republican
Sen. James Brochin, Baltimore County Democrat
Sen. Richard Colburn, Eastern Shore Republican
Sen. James DeGrange, Anne Arundel County Democrat
Sen. Roy Dyson, Southern Maryland Democrat
Sen. George Edwards, Western Maryland Republican
Sen. Joseph Getty, Baltimore and Carroll counties Republican
Sen. Barry Glassman, Harford County Republican
Sen. Nancy Jacobs, Harford and Cecil counties Republican
Sen. J.B. Jennings, Baltimore and Harford counties Republican
Sen. James Mathias, Eastern Shore Democrat
Sen. Thomas Middleton, Charles County Democrat
Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller, Prince George's and Calvert counties Democrat
Sen. C. Anthony Muse, Prince George's County Democrat
Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters, Prince George's County Democrat
Sen. E.J. Pipkin, Eastern Shore Republican
Sen. Edward Reilly, Anne Arundel County Republican
Sen. Christopher Shank, Washington County Republican
Sen. Bryan Simonaire, Anne Arundel County Republican
Sen. Norman Stone, Baltimore County Democrat

No public position/Undecided
Sen. John Astle, Anne Arundel County Democrat
Sen. James Brochin, Baltimore County Democrat (supports)
Sen. Joan Carter Conway, Baltimore Democrat
Sen. Ulysses Currie, Prince George's County Democrat
Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, Baltimore and Howard counties Democrat (supports)
Sen. Katherine Klausmeier, Baltimore County Democrat (supports)
Sen. James Rosapepe, Prince George's County Democrat

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