Maryland gay marriage initiative heats up in final days

As we move closer to next week’s election, the ground game in Maryland on the gay marriage referendum is picking up.  As you may know, Maryland is voting to legalize same-sex marriage, even though the legislature passed legislation already doing so – it’s a bit complicated:

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in February 2012 and signed on March 1, 2012, by Governor Martin O’Malley. Under its provisions, same-sex couples will be permitted to marry beginning January 1, 2013. However, opponents of same-sex marriage gathered signatures to place referendum Question 6 on the state general election ballot, which will ask voters in the state to either vote “For” or “Against” the law on November 6, 2012.

With Frank Schubert and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the lead anti-gay marriage group, kicking up their false ads claiming kids will be taught about gay marriage in school, and with local preachers campaigning against us hard (and poll numbers tightening significantly), the campaign is working hard to push back on this false narrative that’s helped defeat marriage equality in past state races.

On a call with press Tuesday night, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley discussed the state of the race and what’s left to do in the next five days.  Top on that list is raise an additional $400,000 to help push back on the false ads and infusion of cash from NOM.  If you’re able to help the campaign with a donation, you can go to their site to donate.

The campaign has worked hard in their outreach to Catholic voters, African American voters and republicans with polling showing


Gay marriage via Shutterstock

success.  Marylanders United, along with high profile supporters from members of these communities (including President Obama, Governor O’Malley, former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman, Rev. Al Sharpton and several members of the clergy), have made inroads in these groups and are pushing back against the education claim with ads like these:

Question 6 has also been endorsed by The Baltimore Sun (in a lengthy, detailed take-down of the opposition’s lies) and The Washington Post, who wrote:

More than 42 percent of Americans now live in states with some form of legal protection for gay couples, though just six states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage outright. Only a narrow majority of Americans say they favor marriage rights for gay couples, but large majorities of young people say they are fine with it. The trend line is clear, and the arguments against gay marriage are losing force.

One of those arguments is that legalizing same-sex marriage somehow constrains churches and other religious organizations. But Maryland’s law has been written explicitly to protect clergy, churches and affiliated entities, who would not be required to play any role in ceremonies that run afoul of their beliefs.

Likewise, opponents of Maryland’s law have argued that traditional marriage is somehow under threat from same-sex unions. But they have failed to show that the proliferation of gay marriages — more than 100,000 same-sex couples are now legally married — has had any impact on overall marriage rates in America, which have been dwindling for 40 years. It is illogical to suggest that the denial of marriage benefits to homosexuals would in any way encourage or defend traditional heterosexual marriage.

This is sure to be a close race that will undoubtedly tighten in the last days as opponents unabashedly lie.  Help fight back by donating here.

Born and raised in Maine, Nick Seaver moved to DC to study political communication in 2003. He began writing extensively on LGBT rights during the first ballot initiative in Maine that overturned marriage equality. He writes about a variety of issues, ranging from marriage to issues facing LGBT youth. Follow him on Twitter at @NDSeaver.

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2 Responses to “Maryland gay marriage initiative heats up in final days”

  1. Papa Bear says:

    Hey, not all hunky, hot types are Hispanic!

  2. karmanot says:

    Legalizing gay marriage is a grave threat to fundamental Christianity, because scores of ministerial closet cases will dump their mousey women folk and marry hunky, hot Jesus types.

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