Reporting Pat Warren
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Look for the same-sex and traditional marriage campaigns to pick up steam, now that they know how the question will appear on the November ballot.
Political reporter Pat Warren explains how the question on the November ballot is worded and what that means for each side.
The wording is out.
“We’re asking folks to vote for Question 6, to vote for marriage equality,” said Marylanders for Marriage Equality Campaign Director Josh Levin.
“This is Question 6, and if you want to maintain marriage between one man and one woman, you’re going to have to vote no,” said Maryland Marriage Alliance Director Derek McCoy.
Same-sex marriage is Questions 6 and it reads: “Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.”
Marylanders for Marriage Equality says this is about fairness and equality under the law and protecting religious liberty, but the Maryland Marriage Alliance it will oppose it.
“We just go out and say, ‘No, no. Everybody has to go out and vote no,’” said McCoy.
Members of the Maryland Marriage Alliance and their supporters gathered at Bilingual Christian Church in Baltimore. They say the language of the bill reads more like a religious freedom act than a bill that changes the definition of marriage.
“As a bit of cloak and dagger kind of thing to say, ‘Let’s just kind of hide the real truth about this issue,’” said McCoy.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality believes the wording is true to the law that was signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley this year.
“This is allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to get a marriage license at the courthouse. And it’s about protecting religious liberty for all faiths in Maryland, ” said Levin.
Supporters of traditional marriage say the relationship by definition should remain one man-one woman.
“I think we’ve tampered with something that shouldn’t be tampered with. It’s sacred,” Bishop Mark Pierce of Rock City Church said.
Just 75 days to election day and both sides agree there’s a lot of ground to cover.
More than 100,000 Marylanders signed a petition to put the state’s same-sex marriage law on the ballot for referendum.