The new Maryland law legalizing same-sex marriage could be repealed this November if a referendum asking voters to weigh in ends up on the ballot as expected.
According to the Baltimore Sun
, opponents of the law passed in March by the Democratic-controlled legislature have collected enough signatures to put the measure to a public vote.
All that remains now is for enough signatures — 55,736 of the 122,481 collected — to be verified by the state board of elections as legitimate to make the referendum a certainty.
“Marylanders have a right to vote on this issue," the Rev. Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, told reporters Tuesday after delivering the signature petitions to the secretary of state’s office.
The Sun reported that both sides on the issue are prepared to spend millions on the referendum, guaranteeing that Maryland will likely be front and center in the same-sex marriage debate as it plays out nationally.
“Every day we have had more and more momentum,” McCoy said, noting that President Barack Obama’s recent endorsement of same-sex marriage had helped to solidify and build more opposition to the Maryland law, which is scheduled to take effect in January.
But gay rights advocates in the state cite recent public opinion polls they commissioned indicating increased support for the law.
“We expected them to make their numbers,” the Rev. MacArthur Flournoy, faith leader for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, said of the opponents’ petition drive. Flournoy’s group supports the law and plans to join in the fight to uphold it.
The Sun noted the marriage referendum would actually be the second on this November’s ballot. A referendum against a law to allow some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges is already on the ballot.
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