ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– A major victory for same-sex marriage supporters. The bill that failed last year is officially a law. WJZ spoke exclusively with Governor Martin O’Malley just moments after he signed.
Gigi Barnett has more on what’s next.
Even though the law was signed Thursday, it won’t take effect until January 2013. Supporters say they know the fight is far from over.
“And the bill is signed.”
A historic moment as the bill to legalize same-sex marriage becomes law.
“For all of the fear and all of the division, at the end of the day, human dignity wins out,” O’Malley said.
For some lawmakers, it is personal.
“This is like the best day of my political career. It’s one of the best days of my life,” Del. Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore City, said.
Supporters gathered to mark the day.
“I just want to be recognized. My wife wants to be recognized. And now we feel like full citizens in Maryland,” Michelle McLeod, who supports same-sex marriage, said.
“We’re looking to have a mass wedding at 12:01 on January, the first in our sanctuary,” Archbishop Joe Stuart of New Catholic Church said.
But same-sex marriage is far from a done deal. Opponents have already started the process to have it overturned.
“We are going to erase this bill,” Del. Emmett Burns, D-Baltimore County, said. “With a pencil it was signed. It was signed with a pencil, not with ink. We’re going to erase it.”
A petition to put same-sex marriage on the November ballot has been approved by the Board of Elections. Opponents need 56,000 signatures.
“The people of Maryland deserve to vote on this bill and we want to make sure they have that opportunity this coming November,” Del. Neil Parrott, R-Washington County, said.
Supporters admit there’s a long road ahead.
“It’s going to be an uphill battle. It’s going to be tough,” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said. “People believe strongly on both sides of the issue.”
“If it comes to referendum, we feel confident,” Del. Luke Clippinger, D-Baltimore City, said.
The law will not take effect until January 2013, so opponents have time to get the issue on the November ballot.
Nationally, opponents have defeated same-sex marriage legislation in every state where it’s gone to referendum.