Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It’s official. The voters will decide if same-sex marriage will be legal in Maryland. The Board of Elections validates enough signatures for a referendum. And now, the nation watches to see if the state’s new law can survive the polls.
Meghan McCorkell explains opponents and supporters are drawing their battle lines.
This is no surprise for either side. Now their sole focus is getting voters to the polls in November.
More than 70,000 and counting. That’s how many validated signatures are pushing same-sex marriage to the ballot.
“We’ve still got petitions that have still yet to be turned in,” Rev. Derek McCoy of the Maryland Marriage Alliance said.
Opponents of gay marriage only needed 55,000 to put the issue to the voters in November. They turned in more than double that.
The Board of Elections is still sifting through petitions. Of the signatures already validated, the highest numbers come from Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Baltimore counties.
“Our current law in Maryland has always been one man and one woman as we know it. And we’re saying, ‘Let’s keep with that,’” Rev. McCoy said.
But they’ll need voters to show up the polls to overturn the law already signed by the governor.
Supporters of same-sex marriage are also gearing up for a fight in November.
“We’ve opened up two campaign offices, hired 15 staff, more on the way,” Ezekiel Jackson of Maryland for Marriage Equality said.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality is touting a recent poll showing 57 percent support same-sex marriage with just 37 percent saying they’re opposed.
“We’re really optimistic that Maryland could be the first state to actually win this at the ballot,” Jackson said.
Same-sex marriage has been defeated in all 32 states where it’s gone to the voters.
For both sides, this is just the start to a very long campaign.
Both sides tell WJZ they plan to be very visible over the next six months to get out the vote.
Same-sex marriage would be legalized beginning in January if the voters pass it.