The Maryland Senate has delayed its vote on same-sex marriage legislation until Thursday.
The 47 legislators had planned to take up the bill, which was passed Friday by the House of Delegates, during its Wednesday morning session.
The opponents said the procedural delay would allow them time to seek an opinion from the attorney general on several amendments as well as prepare additional amendments that could be offered Thursday.
One amendment, offered by Sen. Edward Reilly, an Anne Arundel County Republican, would allow the law to go into effect on October 1—thus removing an amendment by Del. Wade Kach, a Baltimore County Republican, that set the effective date as January 1, 2013.
"It may look like a placebo but this is really a poison pill," said Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat. "Any effort to amend the bill is an effort to kill it."
Proponents and opponents acknowledge that changing the bill at this point will be nearly impossible.
Passage in the Senate is also expected.
"I don't anticipate a single vote has changed," said Senate President Thomas V Mike Miller.
Miller said he had hoped the Senate would deal with the bill Thursday "so we can move on with the business of the state."
"We've made progress though," said Miller. "We adopted the favorable committee report."
The Senate is expected to take up the bill again Thursday morning.