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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 13 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 28
Marriage officially on the ballot in Maryland
Section One
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Marriage officially on the ballot in Maryland

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Maryland Board of Elections certified a petition on July 10 that will put the state's new marriage equality law up for a vote in November.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance - a coalition of anti-Gay and religious groups - submitted 162,224 signatures, reportedly the highest number turned in for any referendum. The Board of Elections stopped verifying signatures after approving 109,313 of them.

'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.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a group defending the new law, would not say whether it will challenge the certification in court.

'We're not taking any options off the table,' said Marriage Equality spokesperson Kevin Nix.

The group has always assumed that opponents would be able to get the question on the November ballot, Nix said, and is ready for the election campaign.

'Our base is fired up, momentum is with us,' he told The Baltimore Sun.

Anti-equality forces also said they were ready for the campaign.

'We're excited, we're on the ballot,' said Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance. 'We're glad that we were able to have a loud say.'

Polling shows most Maryland voters plan to uphold the state's marriage equality law. A PPP poll released May 24 found that 57% of likely voters said they would vote to keep the law, compared to only 37% who would reject it.

African Americans make up about a third of the state's registered voters. Recent polling suggests that support for equality from President Obama and the NAACP is shifting public opinion in the black community.

The May PPP poll shows that African-American voters now support marriage equality by a 19-point margin, a shift of 29 points since the last poll of Maryland voters.

In past polls, some 56% of African Americans said they would vote against the new law, with only 39% supporting it. The May poll showed that those numbers have now almost completely flipped, with 55% of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36% opposed.

An ABC/Washington Post poll also released in May found 59% of African Americans across the country supporting marriage equality.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality released a new Web-only ad on July 10 featuring mostly African Americans explaining why they support same-sex marriage.

NAACP chair Julian Bond also issued a statement July 10 supporting same-sex marriage, saying that Marylanders will be 'casting a vote on the law - not on their faith.'

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