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Marriage equality updates: Maryland, France and New Zealand

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

The New York Times published an article over the weekend looking at the state of the marriage equality ballot campaign in Maryland, with the headline, “Gay Marriage Seeks a ‘Yes’ at the Polls.”  Maryland, of course, is one of three states where marriage equality will be on the ballot in November (the other two are Maine and Washington), while a constitutional ban on marriage equality will be up for a vote in Minnesota.  But this year, unlike before, the language of all three states’ ballot initiatives is designed to allow the people to vote for equal marriage rights, rather than against a ban on them (a confusing proposition for even the most educated of voters).

Maryland is no exception to the rule this year: the ballot language for Question 6, which was released last week, was lauded by marriage equality advocates who were pleased that it allows for a ‘yes’ vote on equal marriage rights and explicitly states that exemptions will be made for religious institutions.

Polling in Maryland on the ballot initiative has seen a dramatic turnaround since President Obama announced his personal support for marriage equality and the NAACP followed suit with an institutional statement of support as well.  A Washington Post poll in January found Maryland’s electorate closely split on the marriage question, with a good likelihood of voting down the law; a PPP poll in May showed 57 percent of voters would uphold the law, a shift the polling organization said could be explained “almost entirely” by a shift in opinion among the state’s African-American community.  As the Times notes, African-Americans typically make up a third of the electorate in a typical Maryland election.

In addition, the Times points out that Maryland’s polls will close an hour before Maine’s on November 6, meaning that if voters there approve Question 6, Maryland would become the first state to do so by a popular vote.

Meanwhile, in France, the Socliaist government, led by newly elected President Francois Hollande, plans to make good on its promise of bringing full marriage equality to the country by this fall.  Speaking at an address to party members, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said, “In October, we will send a bill to the National Assembly and the Senate to allow same-sex couples to marry.  It would also allow them to form families and adopt children.”  The Socialist Party controls both houses of Parliament, so the bill is expected to pass.

In New Zealand, a marriage equality bill looks likely to get over the first obstacle to its passage when it comes up this week for a vote, according to a poll of lawmakers’ positions by the NZ Herald.  The bill needs 61 votes to make its way to the select committee stage, and the poll found that a bare majority of 61 Members of Parliament will support that position on a conscience vote, meaning that they will not have to vote along party lines.  The legislation will face more votes in parliament before it can become law.


  • 1. Seth from Maryland  |  August 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

    HUGE Fundraiser for Maryland Marriage Equality Law Set for Sep 13th:
    Marylanders for Marriage Equality announced an almost impossibly star-studded fundraising banquet to be held on September 13th. The guest list: Susan Sarandon, Sean Avery, Barbara Bush, Josh Charles, Thom Browne, Andy Cohen, Tom Colicchio, Julianne Moore, Edward Norton, Hilary Rhoda, Russell Simmons, John Waters, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianna Margulies, Keith Lieberthall, Cornelia Guest, Kathleen Keener, Paul Boskind, Tonio Burgos, Brian Ellner, Ryan Greenwalt, Charles Myers, Ken Mehlman, Charles John O'Byrne, Larry Poston, David Rabin, Johnny Swet, and Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley
    The banquet's venue isn't in Maryland, probably because it's easier to move the banquet to its various VIPs than to move all the VIPs to Maryland. It's in SoHo, in Manhattan: the extraordinary James Hotel. Tix run from $250 a head to $25,000 for a top-shelf sponsorship package.

    Read more:

  • 2. Seth from Maryland  |  August 27, 2012 at 9:09 am

    this fight has begun, an we are going to bring it , an thank God for we have Gov. O'Malley he has really steped up an is doing everthing in his power to make this pass, YES FOR 6

  • 3. Mike in Baltimore  |  August 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I am disappointed that former MD Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend will not be appearing as an honored guest at the fundraiser.

    In early August, she sent out an email addressing her ancestry (daughter of Robert Kennedy, Niece of JFK, Catholic, etc.)

    She ended the email stating, "As a Catholic, I believe the the Civil Marriage Protection Act honors these values, which is why I will proudly vote for it on November 6th."

  • 4. Seth from Maryland  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    yea me too 🙁

  • 5. fiona64  |  August 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

    "explicitly states that exemptions will be made for religious institutions."

    Clearly we need to start figuring out a way to fund remedial civics education if it is necessary to constantly spell out the meaning of the 1st Amendment. Honestly, this is starting to piss me off. Once again, for those who missed the memo: churches have, and always have had, the right to pick and choose whom they will marry. Try getting married in an LDS temple if you're not Mormon. Try getting married in the Catholic Church if you're divorced. It's not gonna happen. Or, trying being an African-American couple in Mississippi who wanted to get married in the church they attended regularly and had the *congregation* say "no."

    Gay and lesbian couples getting married are under no different standard … and why we have to constantly spell this out for (I'm just going to say it) the terminally *stupid* is beyond me.

  • 6. fiona64  |  August 27, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Forgot to add this: I can't imagine anyone wanting to get married someplace where they weren't welcome, anyway. Get real, people. The idea that gay and lesbian couples are going to force a church to do something in opposition to its theology is bullshit.

  • 7. CHRIS  |  August 27, 2012 at 9:24 am

    This idea that gay people would try and force a church to marry them goes to the root of the problem with many anti-gay people. The fact that they think we would be SO desperate to find a SINGLE church that would be willing to do it, that we would sue them. Those people are apparently unaware that there are churches who do support us, and that many of us are religious. It also shows their unawareness of the fact that a church is not even needed, legally, to marry a couple, since non-religious people can go to city hall or a justice of the peace.

  • 8. fiona64  |  August 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Considering that churches are only allowed to perform legally binding marriages as a *courtesy* by the state, perhaps it's time to embrace Europe's model. You can have 250 church weddings if you want to, but until you have the registry wedding, you aren't married. Even Prince William and Kate Middleton weren't legally married until they signed the registry in front of the civic official.

    I'm just sick and damned tired of watching my GLBT friends forced to cater to the absolute, lowest common denominator of *stupid* (there, I said it again) in order to have equality under the law.

  • 9. Sagesse  |  August 27, 2012 at 9:48 am


  • 10. Seth from Maryland  |  August 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

    [youtube 0sz-ovt7qik youtube]

  • 11. Jason Walter  |  August 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

    <img src="">Seems progress has been made throughout the world. <img src=""&gt;

  • 12. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    So one, maybe two more countries will beat us to marriage equality at the national level this year? NOM et al. really can't bear to have their gravy train derail, can they? I thought they were laughable back in the "gathering storm" days, but people keep pumping money into their coffers. And the religious right is dug in like a tick on the body of the GOP, so Republican wins in November strengthen them.

  • 13. Seth from Maryland  |  August 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    there are now 65 mps in NZ in support , its going to pass congrats NZ

  • 14. Seth from Maryland  |  August 28, 2012 at 8:04 am

    [youtube OhvvATNoKec youtube]

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