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Maryland’s anti-gay groups submit enough signatures to put marriage equality on the ballot in November

Marriage equality

By Scottie Thomaston

In Maryland, it’s inevitable that their recently-passed marriage equality bill will be on the ballot in November awaiting voter approval before it becomes law in the state. Right-wing churches, for the most part, led organizing efforts to gather signatures and mobilize voters for the upcoming vote, under the name Maryland Marriage Alliance. This week, the right-wing anti-gay groups are required to submit 18,579 signatures for the initiative. That number of signatures was due this upcoming Thursday. Yesterday, the groups submitted more than twice the amount of signatures that are due this week:

Opponents of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law have delivered more than twice the number of signatures needed to put a referendum on the law on November’s ballot.

Activists say they submitted 113,000 signatures on petitions on Tuesday — double the 55,736 needed to put the issue on the ballot. The state has 20 days to verify signatures.

The large number of signatures virtually guarantees there will be enough valid ones to meet the requirements:

The signatures must be verified by the State Board of Elections, but the surplus of names against gay nuptials all but ensures it will go before voters in the fall — adding even more significance to a presidential election in which social issues received greater prominence after President Obama publicly endorsed same-sex matrimony.

And O’Malley, with national political aspirations of his own, banked much of his political clout on delivering results to liberal supporters on the social issue.

“There’s still more work to be done and we are not taking anything for granted,” said O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory. “Recent poll numbers indicate that more and more Marylanders support marriage equality and religious freedom.”

Marylanders for Marriage Equality released a statement via press release:

“Given the low bar for petitioning a law to the ballot in Maryland, we’ve always expected same-sex marriage opponents to meet that threshold and then some—up to their stated target of 150,000.

“But don’t confuse meeting the legal requirement with intensity or measure of support. It’s clear those opposed to marriage equality are losing ground. Our PPP poll last week showed 57% would vote to uphold the law – with 37% voting against – if the election were held today. A surge in support among African American voters (to 55%) in the wake of endorsements by President Obama and the NAACP are key factors in that change. As we open two new campaign offices and build out a robust field operation to offer information, register, and mobilize voters this summer and fall, we will be looking to maintain this record-level of support for marriage equality in Maryland.

“Beyond polling and politics, let’s keep in mind what the likely referendum is all about: building stronger families and protecting every child under Maryland law. Only marriage provides such legal protections to children. Every family deserves dignity, just as every church deserves its freedom and liberty to marry who they want. Religious liberty is cherished and protected.”

It seems as though the marriage equality law could pass and Maryland could be the first state to keep a law affording marriage equality to gays and lesbians on the books after the voters have their say. Last week, a poll from Public Policy Polling showed that 57% of Marylanders say they are likely to vote for marriage equality when it’s up this November. We’re still six months out from the election and polls continue to trend in a positive direction.

15 Comments

  • 1. Sammy  |  May 30, 2012 at 11:32 am

    The vitriol from Pastors continues to get worse, this one actually calls for execution of homosexuals (not just concentration camps). http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2012/05/christian-lo

    These are the stories that need to be brought to light as an us against them and we will see many moderates on our side rather than with them. Contrast these stories against people just living their lives, the campaigns need to be much stronger this year and we have plenty of material…

  • 2. Gregory in SLC  |  May 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Watch video in article:

    "Ain't no homos gonna make it to heaven":
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/aint-no-

  • 3. Bob  |  May 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    ain't any homo's that wanna go to that their heaven,,,,,,,

  • 4. Mike  |  May 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    The old saying about the attacks becoming more vicious the closer the attacker comes to losing seem to be ringing true in this case.

    Twenty years ago, the attacks were pretty mild, if not non-existent.

    Ten years ago, they started to get much more strident, and (especially compared to today) a bit vicious.

    Now? Extremely vicious.

    Do they sense they are losing the battle?

    Remember, a cornered rat becomes even more vicious.

  • 5. Richard Lyon  |  May 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Maryland will provide a good opportunity to see in practical terms just how much things have changed since Obama's statement. At the time that the new law was signed polls were indicating that a repeal measure would be likely to pass.

  • 6. Stefan in CA  |  May 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    The polls can't be trusted, even if strongly in the favor of marriage equality. Come this fall, you know NOM and all their ugly affiliates are going to come out swinging, hard, doing whatever it takes. I think marriage equality will probably survive in WA, and I'm not sure about Minn. But in Maine and Maryland I think it's too close. Don't make the mistake of backing off even if the polls are favorable.

  • 7. Stefan  |  May 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Maine gay marriage will for sure win at the polls. Supports has really surged there big time.

  • 8. Seth from Maryland  |  May 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    maine and maryland are our best two chances of winning this nov

  • 9. Sagesse  |  May 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    @

  • 10. fiona64  |  May 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Over on Mormons for Marriage, a pro-equality site, it was reported that one of the largest LDS communities in Maryland saw one of its members use the ward (I think that's the single congregation level, right?) e-blast service to recruit people to get out signatures. The congregation's officials said they were unaware of the woman doing that … but I know how e-blast services work. It requires a password, and an upload of the information. Obviously she had access to the service. It was really a rather disturbing e-mail.

  • 11. Deeelaaach  |  May 31, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Yes, the single congregation levels are branch and ward, with ward being the most common – a branch doesn't have enough members to become a ward. The first multi-congregation level is the stake. Source: I was raised and still am LDS.

  • 12. Archbish Cranberry  |  May 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Surely the referendum should be stayed as the Federal Appeal Court has ruled that once the right to marry has been granted to gay people, it is unconstitutional to take it away. This was the result of the prop 8 case. Whilst that is being appealed to the Supreme Court, people can't marry due to a stay. It is therefore logical that further referendums seeking to remove the right to marry should be stayed pending the Supreme Court ruling, as currently they are illegal.

  • 13. Bill S.  |  May 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Maryland is not served by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals so Perry v. Brown is not binding precedent there. Also, Maryland's law hasn't gone into effect yet.

  • 14. Bill S.  |  May 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Also, I should add, that the determining factor in that case was that Prop 8 stripped away marriage leaving a "separate-but-equal" distinction of domestic partnerships in place. The 9th Circuit ruled that granting gay couples all the rights of marriage but merely withholding the word "marriage" served no rational basis but only symbolic moral disapproval.

    If this referendum is approved, it will not create such a separate-but-equal distinction so that, even if Maryland were in the 9th Circuit, you would not get a summary judgement against the referendum on the grounds of Perry v. Brown.

  • 15. John_B_in_DC  |  May 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Haters gotta hate.

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