Maryland governor to sign same-sex marriage into law on Thursday

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:55pm EST

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ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (Reuters) - Maryland's governor plans to sign a bill making same-sex marriage legal later this week, his office said on Monday, while opponents were making plans to challenge the new law at the ballot box.

The legislation, making Maryland the eighth state in the nation to legalize gay and lesbian nuptials, heads to Governor Martin O'Malley's desk for his signature at a ceremony at 5 p.m. on Thursday, his office said.

The Democratic governor has supported the measure and promised to sign it once it was passed by lawmakers. The state Senate voted in favor of the bill last week after it was passed by the state's lower House of Delegates.

While still controversial, same-sex marriage has been gaining acceptance nationally in recent weeks as Washington state legislators voted to allow gay marriage and the New Jersey legislature passed a gay marriage law through both houses, although it was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

An appeals court has also overturned California's ban on gay marriage, enacted through a 2008 ballot initiative.

Same-sex couples can marry in the District of Columbia and in six states -- Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York. Washington state will join the list in June unless opponents stop it ahead of a possible ballot initiative.

Opponents of same-sex marriage in Maryland were working to get a referendum seeking to repeal the law on the ballot in November.

"The citizens of the state, since it's such a weighty issue, should have a final say," Republican Delegate Tony O'Donnell, the House minority leader who opposed the bill, said on Monday.

"All polling data shows that the state is closely divided on this issue," O'Donnell said. The Senate passed the bill 25 to 22; the House approved it 72 to 67.

Asked about the push for a referendum, the governor's spokeswoman Takirra Winfield said the effort was not unexpected.

"The governor has faith in the people of our state," she said, adding that the governor believed voters will "seek to take the best action that will protect equality for all."

Opponents would need nearly 56,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. They would need to submit a third of those signatures by May 31 and the remainder by June 30 to get the measure on the November ballot.

(Editing By Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston)

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Comments (1)
bjmonda wrote:
Maryland’s new law legalizing Gay Marriage is a civil law and does not make anyone do anything beyond treat all citizens of Maryland equally in area of Marriage. Some leaders of Christian Churches believe this is not a good thing, and they will ask their members to take away this right by signing petitions.

It is to these members I write. Two thousand years ago Jesus walked this earth, imbedded in the religiosity and culture of his day. He was a Jewish Rabbi, a teacher, a person revered by many. His short career was focused on helping marginalized people which included: children, women, elderly, sick, poor, imprisoned, uneducated, non-Jewish, foreigners and politically incorrect people—such as tax collectors or people who were considered “sinful.” In other words, just about everybody, except educated Jewish men, were considered unimportant and not worthy of equal rights.

It is for this reason I ask the members of our present day Fundamentalist (Christian) groups to remember, in Jesus’ day the High priests and Rabbi’s were against Jesus and against those without equal rights. But Jesus was FOR THEM!

Today, our Christian Leaders such as: pastors, priests, bishops do not necessarily represent Jesus or the membership of their churches. They, like the Jewish priests of old, may be more interested in increasing their money, power and position.

So I say: Think, what would Jesus do, and then DECLINE TO SIGN.

Feb 29, 2012 1:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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