BALTIMORE (WJZ)–President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage is drawing strong reactions here in Maryland. And new allegations against Mitt Romney are further fueling the debate.

Monique Griego has the story.

While most supporters of same-sex marriage welcome the president’s backing, others believe it could backfire.

President Obama is campaigning out west Friday morning, on the heels of becoming the first sitting president to publicly support same-sex marriage.

“You will get the chance to weigh in on the issue of making sure that everyone — regardless of sexual orientation — everyone is treated fairly,” Obama said.

President Obama’s Republican rival, Mitt Romney, is dealing with accusations that he bullied a boy in high school who later revealed he was gay. Five classmates confirm the incident to the Washington Post.

Romney and others allegedly tackled the boy and cut off his dyed-blond hair.

Romney first responded this way:

“I don’t remember that incident and I’ll tell you I certainly don’t believe that I — I can’t speak for other people of course — thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from my mind in the 1960s,” Romney said.

Romney later said he doesn’t dispute the story.

Marylanders are now wondering what impact the president’s support might have here if the issue goes to the ballot in November.

Analyst Richard Vatz believes the president may actually help opponents of same-sex marriage.

“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 president was reportedly going to make his announcement next week but decided to make the move early after Vice President Joe Biden announced his support last weekend.

A recent Gallup poll found 50 percent of Americans in favor of same-sex marriage, with 48 percent opposed.

The petition to put the issue on the Maryland ballot has more than half of the required signatures. They have to collect the rest by the end of this month.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

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