By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)— What’s the impact of President Barack Obama’s bold new stand in favor of same-sex marriage? People on both sides are speculating on how the president’s announcement could affect Maryland if the issue goes to voters in November.

Political reporter Pat Warren looks at the possible outcomes.

The president’s support is a victory for same-sex marriage supporters, but whether it has any influence on the Maryland voters or is purely symbolic remains to be seen.

The president’s support of same-sex marriage puts smiles on the faces of advocates. But does it have any teeth at the polls?

“I think that it may because it’s almost like getting a stamp of approval. You know, it’s my president. He adds some sort of validity to it,” said Carrie Hiers, marriage equality supporter.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect the outcome whatsoever,” said Richard Vatz, analyst.

Hiers and Sultan Shakir are each in a committed same-sex relationship, and believe the president’s commitment to marriage equality will influence the Maryland referendum.

“If you say that you’re for the president how can you say that you’re against marriage equality?” Hiers Shakir  said.

“I think in Maryland it may be a near wash,” Vatz said.

Vatz believes the president may energize people in Maryland to vote on both sides. And if it does translate to votes, it’s more likely to motivate opponents.

“If I had to guess though, I’d say it’s a net gain for the conservative forces in Maryland who are going to be slightly more motivated to come out on this issue than the pro forces,” Vatz  said.

The petition drive continues, and while there’s disagreement on the effect, there’s little doubt about the president’s sincerity.

“I think people are gonna look at the way Barack Obama came around on the issue of marriage equality, and I think they’re going to say ‘OK. I sit around the table with my family. I know gay and lesbian people. I may not have had a conversation about their family, but I know gay and lesbian families are the same as my family,’” Shakir said.

“I think he’s doing what he thinks is right,” Vatz said about President Obama.

While the petition to referendum continues, same-sex marriage supporters are working on their own information drive.

Election Day is Nov. 6.


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