Poll Shows Most Marylanders Support Gay Marriage

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new poll suggests a majority of Marylanders may be ready to accept gay marriage…but the matter is a long way from a vote.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on where the state stands on the issue right now.

Before same-sex couples tie the knot in Maryland, gay marriage advocates still have hurdles to clear.  But if a new Gonzales poll is any indication, Marylanders seem to be leaning in their direction.

Gita Deane, mother of two, is looking forward to marriage, as much for herself and her partner, Lisa, as for their children.

“My 10-year-old said to me, `Mom, it’s just a dignity problem.  I don’t want to have to give long explanations about my family and that my moms are not yet married,'” Deane said.  “This is about dignity.  We need to have the same dignity other families have. I think she gets it and I hope other people get it.”

Fifty-one percent of Marylanders polled support gay marriage, 44 percent oppose it and nearly five percent had no answer.  More than twice as many Democrats favor gay marriage than Republicans.  More than half of independents favor gay marriage.

Supporters of a gay marriage bill stood with Gita and Lisa Tuesday.

“I come from a family that is known for civil rights and as I said, this is the civil rights issue of our generation,” said Keiffer Mitchell. “Maryland was founded based on tolerance.  How can we as a state continue to move forward if we continue to treat some of our citizens as second-class citizens?” 

But opponents of the bill have family roots of their own.

“My parents were married for 50 years and I’m the oldest of 10 children,” Senate President Mike Miller said.  “I’ve been married for 45 years and I have five children, 13 grandchildren. I believe in the sanctity of marriage, a relationship between a man and a woman. I am personally going to vote not to expand gay marriage, but as President of the Senate, if there is a filibuster, I will vote to cut off the debate and try to move the bill forward.” 

For or against, gay marriage is clearly a matter of the heart.

It’s a very emotional issue on both sides, and opponents in the House of Delegates feel the debate could be very divisive. If the General Assembly passes the bill and the governor signs it, it would most likely go to the voters to rubberstamp or override.

A bill to allow civil unions will also be considered, but gay marriage advocates are not likely to support that.

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