Anti-Marriage Equality Ballot Measure OK’ed for Maryland
Members of Maryland's election board have certified a petition this week that will put the state's gay marriage law on the ballot this November, which allows voters to decide whether or not the law will stand, the Washington Post reported.
"I have determined that final certification ... is warranted at this time," State Elections Administrator Linda Lamone wrote in a letter to Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance.
Now, voters will decide if same-sex couples have the right to marry in the state by voting on the legislation, which was signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) in March.
Members of Maryland Marriage Alliance were able to collect 109,313 signatures, far surpassing the 55,736 signatures required to get the measure on the November ballot. Lamone's letter also states that he did not check the other 39,743 signatures that were submitted by the group last month.
"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 did not say if the organization will challenge the signatures, according to the Baltimore Sun.
"We're not taking any options off the table," said Kevin Nix, the group's spokesman. He also said that the group was hardly blindsided by opponents' ability to collect enough signatures. "Our base is fired up," Nix said. "Momentum is with us."
The Sun also notes that about one third of Maryland's voters are African-Americans, who "have been uneasy with same-sex marriage." But Nix's group has created a new Internet ad that features mostly African-Americans voicing their support for marriage equality. Additionally, the NAACP's former chairman and well-known Civil Rights veteran Julian Bond issued a statement in which he said that he backs gay marriage and that Maryland voters will be "casting a vote on the law - not their faith."
Currently, Maryland does not recognize gay marriage but has legalized domestic partnerships for same-sex couples since 2008. Two years ago, the state passed a measure that recognized gay marriages that were performed in other jurisdictions.