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March 2, 2012 Print

Maryland Governor Signs Same-Sex Marriage Bill

by Karla Dial

Maryland became the eighth state to redefine marriage on Thursday, when Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a bill he sponsored into law. And with that, the referendum effort to repeal the new law was launched.

In order for voters to be able to overturn the law in November, the Maryland Marriage Alliance must collect 55,800 signatures by the end of June — approximately 3 percent of the number of people who voted in the 2010 election that put O’Malley into office.

The Alliance not only expects to gather that number of signatures, but hopes to exceed it, said Charles Balint, an attorney who works with the group.

Though registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by three to one in the state, marriage is an issue that resonates with all demographics — and a perfect storm of circumstances is developing that should drive all kinds of people to the polls.

“The fact that Barack Obama is in this race is very important, because it will turn out the African-American population, and surveys have shown this is an unpopular issue with them,” Balint said, noting that 24 percent of Maryland’s population is black.

Also, another referendum concerning giving the children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities will be on this November’s ballot — turning out social conservatives and Latinos alike, both of whom support marriage.

“So in a way, if we have to go to war on this issue, now is the time,” Balint said. “All these things are lining up in our favor. Maryland is a very liberal state, but 31 out of 31 states thus far have turned away (same-sex marriage), and we expect Maryland will as well.”

Learn more about the Maryland Family Alliance.