POLITICS

Maryland, Virginia propose widely differing laws

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Despite being geographically close, Maryland and Virginia have stark differences, which is clearly evident in the proposed laws being debated by each state’s legislature.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has made legalizing same sex marriage a top priority while Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell supports a bill allowing private agencies to ban gay couples from adopting.

Maryland approved in-state tuition for illegal immigrants while Virginia is considering banning illegal immigrants from state schools.

Maryland favors stricter gun control while Virginia legislators want to loosen gun laws.

Voters who have lived in both states say it's a noticeable divide.

“Living in Arlington is certainly not as conservative as some other parts of the state for sure,” says Kara Praed of Arlington. “In fact we feel like lone Republicans a lot of the time in our little community.”

Or from the other side?

“I fit in better politically in Maryland - that's for sure,” says Victoria Porter, a Bethesda resident.

Last year, Maryland rejected efforts to restrict abortion clinics while in Virginia, hundreds of pro-choice women at the capital in Richmond Monday protested new measures requiring an ultrasound before an abortion.

And Virginia's House of Delegates is the first in the nation to say that personhood begins at conception.

“We need to get back to the respect for life that we used to have in this country that's been lost,” says Robert Marshall, Virginia delegate member.

But even within Virginia, that bill isn’t embraced by everyone, showing that the divide can be felt within each state too.

“This is all an overreach by the state, by the government,” says Virginia Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn. “These decisions should be left to a woman and her physician, a medical professional.”

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