Maryland: Marriage Equality Will Go to the Ballot


The Maryland Board of Elections this week certified that enough petition signatures have been gathered to put Maryland’s marriage equality law before voters in a November referendum.

Reports the Baltimore Sun:

The Maryland Marriage Alliance submitted 162,224 signatures to repeal the law — the most turned in on any referendum issue in recent memory. The Board of Elections stopped verifying after approving 109,313 of them.

“We’ve determined that the petitions satisfied the legal requirements,” said Donna Duncan, director of the elections management section of the state Board of Elections.

A spokesman for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a group defending the new law, would not say whether his group plans to mount a court challenge. “We’re not taking any options off the table,” said Kevin Nix, the spokesman.

The group has long assumed that opponents would be able to put the question to voters, Nix said. “Our base is fired up, momentum is with us.”

African American voters are expected to play a big role in this vote. While African Americans tend to vote with religious conservatives on this issue, recent polling data suggests that after President Obama publicly avowed his support for marriage equality earlier this year, Maryland’s African American population has also started to shift its stance.

Reports NPR in their just published breakdown of how President Obama’s support factors nationwide:

In March, a Public Policy Polling sampling of Maryland voters showed 52 percent said they would uphold the new law in November, and 44 percent said they would repeal it.

Two weeks after Obama’s announcement, PPP found support had climbed to 57 percent and opposition had dropped to 37 percent. The 12-point swing was driven by African-Americans, whose support for the law jumped to 55 percent, up from 39 percent in March.

The size of the shift was unexpected because blacks in other states have consistently voted against gay marriage, citing deeply held religious objections to homosexuality. Black voters hold considerable influence in Maryland, where they made up a quarter of the electorate in 2008.

“The African-American community supports the president very strongly, and for the president to take a stand on the issue was something we think is going to be important in helping other African-Americans come around,” says Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which is working to preserve the law.

This support has been further bolstered by the NAACP who, two months ago, decided to back marriage equality, calling it “a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law.”

However, at the NAACP convention this past week, held in Houston, it was clear that the NAACP’s endorsement was opposed by a sizable group within its own ranks.


Related Reading:

Reactions to NOM’s Race-Baiting: This is a Game Changer

District Rethinks Leaflet Policy After Ex-Gay Promo Given to Kids

Trans Protections Next in Maryland?


Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to netsu.


Evelyn M.
Evelyn M5 years ago

I do not understand why or HOW equality in marriage can be a "danger" to traditional marriage. People should be allowed to marry whatever person they love and wish to make a life with,

Timothy Wood
Timothy W5 years ago

Experience tells me they don't think that deeply.

Fact is it is the same people that would tell Americans, Obama acts like a Dictator or Hitler, who use Hitler, like, ideals. Lets see...Hitler didn't like the way Jewish People worshiped and conducted their lives. He put them in camps. He didn't like gay people, he put them in camps.

Now we have a political party that says every one should follow their religious laws and beliefs. They would tell you that it is Gays destroying the Country.

I think it is religion that will bring about the downfall of civilization. I would be all for allowing people their own religious beliefs if they didn't seem to have the Hitler style belief that they should be allowed to impose them on others.

I think I remember learning in school that Hitler's real reason for attacking the Jewish People and gays, was merely a scape goat tactic. He needed a small defenseless group or two to point a finger at to blame for the economic and social problems that Germany was experiencing. Sound familiar?

Timothy Wood
Timothy W5 years ago

I've heard a few people wonder recently why the focus of hate seems to be on LGBT people, and more specific, same sex couples.

It seems to me that this is common behavior in our country and others. When things aren't going perfect for you, find someone to point fingers at and blame. Unfortunately it is going to be the smallest groups to have the finger pointed at. After all cowards are going to pick their fights carefully.
Hitler came to power if I remember correctly, largely by giving the German people a scape goat to blame their problems on. So the minorities were attacked. The Jewish, and Gay population were good targets. People who didn't believe the same, or live and love the same were attacked. After the fall, Germans have spent decades trying to forget and redeem themselves for their mistakes. I wonder if people like Michele H. and her cronies have noticed they seem to think like Hitler.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush5 years ago

There are issues that should be put to the voters, and then there are issues that should not.
This issue falls in the latter category.

I shutter to think, of the lack of morality in some people.
They just don't care about anyone, but themselves; and, we know in what category the conservatives fall. Screw you, as long as I get mine.
Imagine what would happen to this planet, if we all felt that way.

Juliet Defarge
judith sanders5 years ago

Phillip M has it exactly right. American law is not based on the "tyranny of the majority," and it's disappointing to see how many people don't understand how our democracy actually works.

Amanda M.
Amanda M5 years ago

As a Maryland resident, I'm disgusted to see that the homophobes were able to get enough signatures to put this on November's ballot when Governor O'Malley had already signed it into LAW, but I will definitely be voting FOR marriage equality in November!

I've already encountered these buttheads at our town's Memorial Day parade this year. When they asked me if I wanted to sign the petition that would put the law on the ballot in November I said hell no! When asked why, I replied, "Because marriage is first and foremost a LEGAL contract between TWO CONSENTING ADULTS who love each other enough to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, and NOBODY has the right to prevent same-sex couples from being able to get a marriage license at the courthouse like us hetero couples!" He stomped off in a huff-I guess he didn't like that response!

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L5 years ago

I do not unerstand why each state is having its citizens vote on a same-sex marriage law. This is a matte of civil rights and those rights are protected under our Constittution. Citizens do not, should not have the right to vote for or against any groups civil rights.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

I hope the laws change in Maryland so ANYONE who wants to get married to another consenting adult regardless of same sex or not same sex can be married. It should be that way in ALL 50 states and throughout the world.

Beth K.
.5 years ago

pam w, I love that idea. Let's vote the bigots and racists into second class citizens. Let's vote away their right to have children and raise them that way. Let's take away their right to vote altogether.

If they can vote away our rights, we should be able to vote away theirs.

Sara W.
Sara W5 years ago

Regarding the religious opinion that homosexuality is an "abomination". The Bible says many things which modern society has chosen to disregard as dated, for example owning slaves and eating shell fish. Personally, I believe this will be the case with the irrational hatred of homosexuals because homosexuals are our friends, family, and neighbors. Because in America church and state are separate and while the churches can teach and preach all they want in their churches, they do not get to decide what is "best" for the rest of society. That means they do not get to force laws that clearly discriminate against a group of people just because their Bible says so.