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Maryland House preps for marriage debate, GOP delegate who switched to yes has State Police protection

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Looks like the Maryland House of Delegates debate on the marriage equality bill will begin at 11 AM ET.

Via email from Equality Maryland:

As you may have heard, HB 438 was not debated last evening on the floor on the House of Delegates. More than 200 amendments have been offered to the bill and the joint committee chairpersons asked for some time today to review all of these. The full House agreed and that is why debate did not occur.

Today we are expecting the joint committees to plow through these amendments and try to get the bill back on the full House floor for debate (called Second Reader) later in the day. Depending on how quickly the floor debate goes, they may get to the final vote late in the day.
Listen get to the audio of the debate here when the session begins.

Some background from Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey. LInskey is on twitter here. The GOP Delegate who switched his vote to yes, Wade Kach, got lobbied by some GOP heavyweights. He is also under the protection of state police:
By far the biggest boost came in the morning when Republican Del. Wade Kach, who was considered a sure-fire no vote, threw his support behind O'Malley's bill. Kach had voted against the bill two days earlier in committee.

The Baltimore County delegate said he reached his decision after mulling the testimony he'd heard during a nearly 11-hour hearing on the bill last week and watching how same-sex couples supported one another. "I thought to myself, if my constituents were here, they'd have a different perspective on the issue," Kach said. "I'm sure of it."

He also became the target of a last-minute lobby effort, and said his voice mail was full of messages from important people, including Mehlman, Bloomberg and an offer to talk with former Vice President Dick Cheney, whom Kach regards as a "great man." All three are recognized for their support of gay rights issues.

Like all of the delegates interviewed, Kach said the out-of-state calls didn't have an impact on his decision making. As of Thursday morning, he had not returned any of them. "I'm more interested in talking to my constituents and my colleagues here," said Kach. "I just didn't call them back."

After announcing his position, the state police offered to provide Kach protection, aides to the delegate said. He accepted and was accompanied by a trooper in the State House on Thursday.

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