BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The marriage debate is heating up. Just weeks after same-sex marriage is legalized in Maryland, opponents are intensifying their effort to repeal the law.

Andrea Fujii reports the big push starts this Sunday.

More than 1,000 churches across Maryland are expected to offer a petition to their members so the issue can get on the ballot.

The signing of Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill earlier this month was a victory for advocates.

“I just want to be recognized, my wife wants to be recognized,” said one.

But now the fight against it has started.

“They’re gung ho,” Del. Emmett Burns, D-Baltimore County.

On Sunday, churches across Maryland will offer the referendum petitions to its members.

Burns, also Pastor Burns, expects to collect at least 2,000 signatures at his church alone.

“The churches participating believe in the biblical word and they are furious,” he said.

Opponents must collect 55,736 valid signatures by June 30 in order for the issue to get on the November ballot. But opponents plan to gather at least 100,000 signatures just in case.

Meanwhile, Governor Martin O’Malley rallied his troops at the New Ways Ministry Conference, a gathering on Catholicism and homosexuality.

“What we hope and expect from all of our leaders is when we take an oath to uphold the Constitution, it is to protect rights equally among all people,” he said.

But from Baltimore to Frederick, opponents say they’re just as passionate and ready for a fight.

“In order to save America, to save our families, we must take a stand,” said Luke J. Robinson of the Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Frederick.

Under the bill, same-sex couples cannot get married in Maryland until January 2013.

Baltimore’s archbishop issued a statement saying the group the governor spoke to does not speak for the Catholic Church.

Comments (50)
  1. ro says:

    If a church engages in political power play to enforce their religious will, they should lose their protected tax status and pay taxes…that was and has always been the trade off…Religious freedom also gives me freedom from YOUR religion and YOUR religious beliefs…….

    1. E. Cantalupo says:

      These churches acrossed America have become religious for-profit businesses and as such should have to pay taxes like every other business. Since they are now being used to interfere with government they must be made to give up their free ride. The rest of us have to pay their share of keeping the roads paved, providing police and military security, providing fire department services, and providing them with every benefit the American government pays for through our tax dollars.
      We must pay taxes on our property, restoring the Chespaeake Bay, etc. The Catholic church is filthy rich and every religious member of it has job security provided by the church. They receive salaries, pensions and places to live in their old age.
      The Evangelical and Fundamentalist religious businesses are passed down to the families of those preachers who found them and they are all millionaires with private airplances, expensive cars and homes and live the lives of wealthy people. So why do those Americans who barely earn enough to live on, pay taxes based on their earnings while the wealthy millionaires and their churches get away scot-free. This stinks to high heaven. They don’t like gay marriage, I don’t like interference in our government to change laws in their favor. The tyranny of relligion has become a joke in America.

      1. William says:

        I think there are three issues here in your post. First of all, I agree that if a church is also a business it should be subject to taxation. Second, I disagree that taxation should come due to a congragation’s exercise of it’s power as a voting block. This is how democracy works and what is more, becoming socially active in a cause that has become political is how small communities can come together and effect change…there is no violations here. On the contrary, this is what should be expected of communities.

        Third point…we are taxed for everything in this state. As small as our state is we are one of the highest taxed states! Our local government needs to stop raising registration fees, fines and taxes and realize that most of our state is at near poverty levels. Tax the businesses, lower the taxes that effect the people and cut the bureaucracy. Rather than changing laws for the sake of human dignity, maybe he can get out of our pockets a bit.

      2. gm says:

        They should be taxed so all the so called rich crooks like that Benny Hinn have to pay a lot as they should. Actually, they should put the crooks in jail.

        Let the gays have a civil ceremony only if they have to get married.

    2. stanJames says:

      which should include our gay freinds getting the legal benefits of marriage.if they so choose, UNDER CIVIL law

    3. NEAL says:


  2. Rev.Radical says:

    If Mr. Robinson from Quinn Chapel wants to save America and its families than maybe he should fight gang violence and drug wars in the cities across Maryland. Its odd to me that the Black Church thinks gay people getting married is a threat…they must be blind to their own problems that are ACTUALLY damaging lives…

  3. William says:

    This must be an interfaith endeavor! There are at least fifteen mosques or more a crossed Maryland, how many synagogues and hundreds of churches…people of faith need to stand united and work together on this. But not just for the petition, at the polls as well!

    What is more, the governor mentioned upholdingthe constitution; he did this as though this bill has anything to do with the constitution as it stands. He is trying to change the laws of his state. He is trying to force upon the citizenry a law they never agreed upon. He is siding with one side while trying to hide behind a separation of church and state when he is called to task for it. It is not a matter of the constitution. It is not a matter of human dignity. It is a matter of changing the laws of the state for the cause of a movement…and that is wrong.

  4. sunnybrk34 says:

    I totally agree, Wiliam. Gov. O’Malley is trying to force a lifestyle upon the vast majority of citizens who find it completely objectionable and immoral and goes against everything we believe in. Then to be forced to pay for it on top of it. Just who is going to pay for the benefits now for state worker’s “spouses”?

    1. Kathryn says:

      LOL- nobody is trying to “make anyone gay”- you don’t like it, fine, don’t be gay. The Gov is not trying to force a lifestyle or religion on anyone. What is happening is that religious groups are trying to force their beliefs on those who are not members of their congregation. Your “WE” is not my we nor that of all the residents of the state. Your “vast majority” is also a crock, the last poll WJZ ran recently was about a 50/50 split- the “vast majority” of people do not oppose gay marriage. If I marry a man or a woman, just how does that affect you??? What business do you have dictating who I chose as a life partner? I am not trying to tell you what to do or what to believe, law or not, you are still entitled to your opinion as is your church and you may marry the person you want to and make your own morals. Apparently you think you can also decide what is moral for others, but that is not your right. No, I am not gay, but gay people are just like the rest of us and deserve the same rights. You are already paying for the benefits state worker’s spouses & children get – even their illigitimate children or spouses that are illegal aliens, and I don’t hear you griping about that.

      PS- I agree with the others- churches that spend money on political causes, lobbies, ads to persuade voters on candidates & issues, petitions or on legal fees for clergy that abuse kids are businesses & should pay taxes!

      Raising FINES is great- only people who do wrong have to pay them & the rest of us can avoid it. Let’s add a sales tax to lottery tickets- that would pay for a lot & anyone who can afford to gamble has money to burn- same for those who have money to buy tobacco & alcohol. Why are prisoners paid to work??? Cut that out, let them work towards their upkeep- what ever happened to hard labor? Illegal aliens? no more freebies! People too lazy to work collecting welfare? Nope, no more! Already on welfare & get pregnant again or convicted of a crime? Nope, we’re not paying for that either! Chauffeurs & round the clock police security for minor politicians like county execs and less? Too expensive- pay for it yourself, drive your own car, it’s not like you people live in bad neighborhoods anyhow LOL!

      “It is a matter of changing the laws of the state for the cause of a movement…and that is wrong.” So, are you saying we should still have slavery, prohibition, segregation, only white males voting, people puffing their cigarettes around children, and so on??? You have to remember, at one time many of the rights people have today were just “movements”! Times change, people change and the state needs to keep up in order to protect the rights of all citizens!

    2. stanJames says:

      HE didnt change the laws of the state any more then any other bill he signs. the legislature makes the laws, the gov can sign them or veto them.

      And yes it is a matter of human diginity. I wonder what you would be saying if your right to marry / be married were taken away from you.

    3. James Roth says:

      Governer O’Malley isnt forcing anything on you!! if I get married to my partner it does not affect you in any way shape or Form. You dont live in my house and dont even know me. So to say something like that is just stupidity. As for who is going to pay for stat workers benifits. Gay Men and Women pay taxes, bleed Red Blood and work just as hard as you do! So hummm, you would expect gay men and woment to pay taxes to ensure that only Marries straight people recieve those benefits? no this is a country based on the rights of all citizens. I think you need to re think your idealisim there. This is not YOUR COUNTRY ONLY! Your Rights End Where MY Rights Begin. If something is not affecting you directly and trust me you cant find anywhere that GAY MARRAGE would affect YOU Personaly!!!! If so PROVE IT TO ME!!! I suppose that anyone in this country that does not share your perticular Faith and Believe should not be allowed to live here either just cause they are different from you.. GROW UP. Learn to LOVE as the bible commanded. THERE IS NO FORCE HERE WE JUST WANT OUR EQUAL RIGHTS. If you were in our shoes and you were denied entry to a hospital room where your partner was dying, or your partners family came in and took everything from you becuase you had no legal bases for your relationship. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL? Im sure there will be no repsonse to this. Learn to LOVE AS THE BIBLE COMMANDED. AND STOP WITH THIS HATRED AND BIGOTRY. IF EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVE IN IS IN THE BIBLE. Another thought for you to ponder. Adultry was in the bible. Story of Onan in Geneses. There is also the fact that you should stone people to death. Or how about the fact that a man can RAPE a women and pay off here father 50 schekles and get away with it. So that is some of the things your GOOD BOOK tells you to do! I dont see you practicing that! Dont pull the speck out of your brothers eyes with out pulling the damn telephone pole out of your own!!!!!!!

    4. Armand says:

      I think gay marriage shloud be voted on by people of the states. It is a moral issue, not a religious one. There are Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and atheists who oppose gay marriage. It is not like telling someone to pray to Allah 5 x a day or take communion. It is not a central tenet of any one faith, so it does not constitute enforcing one religion on the rest of society, as England did 200 plus years ago. No state ever voted for gay marriage

  5. chetta-ketta says:

    Leave these people alone, let them marry & then let the Lord sort it out.

  6. tdelucca says:

    I cant wait to get this to the peoples vote, so we can bring back traditional marrage.

    1. Bobby says:

      You mean tradition marriage where the women was a piece of property that was being exchanged between two men (her father and husband). You mean traditional marriage where divorce was not permitted.

  7. Karen Reynolds says:

    When I’ m in the judgement line before the lord I will be standing next to you for judging me. A church is a place of worship not somewhere to have a ballot signed anyone whom signs will be judged not only on judging gays but using Gods house to do it in.

  8. Kelly says:

    Pastors have always had a duty to speak on social issues, it’s funny how the “tolerant” liberals are so quick to want to shut them up.

    1. stanJames says:

      Yes like they supported slavery as per tjhe bible.

      Like they supported the hatred of Jews, whichj found its ultimate expression in the holocaust and WWII.

      Like they opposed inter-racial marriage as taking away the sanctity of the white race

    2. NEAL says:


  9. Ann says:

    YOUR right to religious beliefs ends where MINE begin. Why is this so hard to understand? You don’t believe in gay marriage, then don’t have one. No one is going to force you into a union with someone of the same sex. I really don’t give a rat’s behind what YOUR religious doctrine teaches about the morality of a marriage. Marriage is not just a christian institution. I am pagan and my husband atheist. We are happily married under the laws of the state and the word “god” never passed either of our lips.

  10. Kathy says:

    Gays can do what they want on their own time, but when you want the government to promote something, then that becomes something else. Gays can’t reproduce or provide children with mothers and fathers – so no it’s no equal to traditional marriage, they say it’s not about religion, still they want the religious term ‘marriage’. Polygamy is next. If marriage can mean anything then it means nothing. Churches and Christian wedding businesses are not protected by this law – they will be tagged as ‘bigoted’ if they refuse, and businesses will be sued.

    1. Bobby says:

      Kathy you are very ignorant about the term marriage. Since there is no sin in ignorance other than remaining so let me educate you. marriage is and always has been a civil function. The early Christian church did not preform marriage prior to the Justinian Code (527-565) Catholic marriage celebrated in a Catholic church before a priest and two witnesses only became enforced with the Council of Trent (1563). Marriage has existed in cultures that had never heard of Christian theology until relatively recently i.e. China, Japan native populations of the Americas.
      You decry polygamy yet your Judeo-Christian bible is full of references to polygamous marriages.
      You complain about the the government promoting something but seem to have no qualms about using the government to promote what you what. Do you know the meaning of the word hypocrisy? Gay people pay the same taxes you do they are entitled to the same benefits that you get. That is know as equal justice under the law. One of the principles this country was founded on.
      No church will be required to preform marriages for gay people if they do not choose to do so. Just like now when the Catholic church does not marry divorced people. Or the Jewish temple can refuse to marry Baptists. For you to claim otherwise is an outright lie. Businesses are covered by non-discrimination laws be they Christian or otherwise. They do not have the right to refuse service to gay people in the 21 states that cover gay people in their non-discrimination laws. In the others they do. If they do not want to be labeled bigots then they should not act in a bigoted manner.

      1. Steve says:

        No private business should be forced to violate their religious beliefs. I love how gays (3% of the pop.) want to march right in and flip the culture and expect no one to take issue with it.

    2. stanJames says:

      OK KAthy – lets make all marriages efffective only while the couple has children under the age of majority.

      As for polygamy – the polygamists are the mormons, very anti gay. their holy book, the book of Mormon says you cannot go to heaven unless you have 3 wives

      Pls stop parroting your church.

      1. stanJames says:

        I suggest that xtian business people who want want to serve gay couples be required to put up one of a few signs in their windows.


        Lets see what happens to their hetero biz.. I give them 2-3 mos before the bankruptcy sale, as so many good people refuse to do bisiness with relgiioous bigots

    3. NEAL says:


      1. Ryan says:

        At least he knows how to spell. Before you call someone else an idiot, take a look in the mirror.

        I am gay myself but see you as the true idiot. Grow up. Also, all caps are annoying and not necessary.

      2. Joan says:

        Just because some hetero couples can’t have kids for whatever reason – that’s still no argument in favor of extending marriage to those who will never have a chance at it. Those couples may even choose to adopt, and then the child will at least have a mother and a father – remember we are all here because of a man and a woman.

      3. NEAL says:

        you can justify your hate with anything you want to say. Bottom line – Bigotry is Bigotry. Every soul gay – straight – black white or green – should have the same legal rights. Anything else said is just to justify the hate that you insist on feeding.

  11. Joe says:

    Pandering to a special interest group is not upholding the Constitution. The 14th Amendment passed in 1868 is not a mandate for gay marriage.

    1. stanJames says:

      yeh sure. We “pandered” to the minority of blacks who were enslaved – justified btw by the bible.

      We did the same re those who wanted to marry inter-racaially, where the conservatives justified miscengenation laws by talking about protecting the sanctity of the white race.

      Same BS from you, now the gays are the newest victims.

  12. Josh Parkville says:

    Come on guys, give Marty a break. It’s Saint Patty’s day. lol .. Everyone knows how important this bill is to Marty’s political future. He thinking about the Iowa caucus less than four years from now. He wants it so bad he can taste it! He can’t be in Democrat primary standing next to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who passed gay marriage first, before Marty had the courage to push it, with Cuomo saying I passed it in NY and the MD governor lost it in a referendum. Gov. MOM can’t have those big donors looking at him saying,” You are from the bluest of blue wacko lib state in the nation and you can’t get in-state tuition or gay marriage passed on referendum??” So Teflon Leprechaun is going to be campaigning like a wild man for this bill in the fall because he needs it bad while he pads his resume for his run for presidency in 2016.

    1. stanJames says:

      Just by insulting the gov, you sshow us what you are.

      1. Josh Parkville says:

        Oh stop being a cry baby, stan. Your side throws insults toward people you disagree with all day. Not insulting, it’s just the truth that you don’t like to hear. Gov. flip flopped like Mitt Romney on the issue out of political expediency. And he did not even have the courage to push it last year or in his first term! Oh yeah, in his first term he believed marriage was between a man and a woman. I guess Cuomo gave him the courage to push it this time since he does not want the him to have one up on him in the Democrat primary; so who’s really Katie O’ Malley’s coward??
        Anyway, the Gov. does not give a damn about you or me. He give a damn about higher office and you know it. So get over it!

  13. Chck says:

    If you sign one of these petitions, be prepared to have your name made public.

    It’s funny how these hypocritical churches are so determined to “save families” when they have such “devout” people on their side, like Mr. Family Values Del. Don Dwyer, who has abandoned his wife and has been seen all around Anne Arundel County cruising bars trying to pick up women. Sure, let’s keep marriage safe for people like him while we forbid people who genuinely love each other from marrying. I know people who have been in relationships for almost three decades without being able to have the same legal right that that jerk has. And then you have the Catholic church really pushing this matter. Seriously? A group of people who have made it a habit of touching children inappropriately should be trying to deny consenting adults their rights???

    So tell me how this is fair.

    1. John Acrres says:

      Actually Dwyer’ s wife left him is what I hear. It seems like he’s another of the people tallking about protecting marriage while he is doing his part to destroy it for others, now htat he’s apparently done it to his own family.

      BTW I also knew him when he worked in the electronics biz about 1980 – I was asst purchasing agent at the same co.. His fellow employees called him

      Make your own decision if you think he belongs on the following list.

    2. stanJames says:

      Soemone told me he’s also on one of those “looking for a date” sites. He said on it He likes to cuddle.

      Sri I forgot the name of the site.

    3. Josh Parkville says:

      “If you sign one of these petitions, be prepared to have your name made public.” said Chck.

      I could not help but wonder, is that a warning shot or threat to the people who may plan to sign? Are you implying that they may be contacted, threaten, intimidated by supporters of gay marriage like yourself who hate the fact that this may go to the people for a vote??
      I would give you more credit and have more respect for you if you would have the courage to just say what you really feel: be careful people who may sign that bill and think about your families.

      That’s like the gays in California that wanted the names and addresses of the people that voted against gay marriage in 2008. lol That same gays that called blacks the N word and beat a 60 year lady after it did not pass in California. Is that what we need to be prepared for from people like you and your friends should this bill not pass??

      1. Sammy says:

        Nobody beat a 60 year old lady. Way to lie for your cause.

  14. Wesley Williams Sr. says:

    Didn’t conservatives make these same arguments 50 years ago relating to interracial marriages?

    1. Tom says:

      interracial marriages were still man/woman.

      1. Bobby says:

        Does not change the fact that they made the same arguments. The world did not end because interracial marriage were allowed and it will not end because gay people are permitted to marry.

      2. stanJames says:

        I’l bet your parents opposed inter-racial marriage by talking about protecting the sanctity of the white race.

    2. stanJames says:

      BTW this is all really about gay people getting marriage licenses.

      Marriage licenses, like the poll tax, came about becuase after the civil war blacks were allowed to marry. the marriage license fee prevented them from marrying , since most were destitute and couldnt pay the fee.

  15. Kevin says:

    FYI The Anti-Slavery movement, 2nd Great Awakening, and MLK all came from the Church. But please be my guest, continue preaching that gays wanting to redefine the term marriage is no different from the African-American struggle, their community really seems to agree, that’s why they are such big supporters of gay marriage.

  16. wayne says:

    Are they the same churches which “geared up” to pass laws forbidding same sex marriage? Separate but Equal schools??

  17. H8NSBAD says:

    Shellfish is clearly said to be an abomination in the bible which is the same admonition used to vilify gay people. Why don’t we see the churches gearing up to make sure none of their followers eat crabs or shrimp? Where is the outcry? Why do some churches focus so much energy on this particular issue over all the admonitions and things mentioned in the bible? I wonder if people on Sunday are going to a house of God, or a house of petitions and political division? Gay people are our co-workers, our neighbors, our family members, our brothers and sisters. They deserve no more or less in terms of rights than anyone else in our state. It seems very wrong that a prisoner who is incarcerated for breaking the law (sometimes violently) has the right to be married, but a law abiding, tax paying citizen does not simply because of the fact they are gay.

  18. Gerald Renoll says:

    The Governor is showing two faces a lot these days . Here is my base He asks for a raise in the gas tax during the day then at night he goes to Washington D.C,. and pays $10,00.00 for him and his wife to the presidents campaign dinner then he goes and votes for same sex marriages but says he will veto a bill that will legalize prescription mar iguana for those who need it for their daily lives

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