BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Maryland has become the second state to vote in gay marriage. Maine passed a similar bill earlier Tuesday.
Mary Bubala and Kai Jackson have more on the controversial ballot question.
Fifty-two percent have voted in favor of same-sex marriage and 48 percent against.
Each side knew it would be a close battle, and this became a historic night in Maryland.
Opponents realized the numbers were consistently in favor of same-sex marriage, but they hoped it would turn around. They don’t believe that it is a civil rights issue.
The stage is set for a celebration as Maryland approved same-sex marriage.
“[My moms] got married in Massachusetts, and we’d like them to get married here,” said one supporter.
Question 6 was placed on the ballot by opponents after Governor Martin O’Malley signed it into law.
This has been a battle months in the making.
Opponents gathered the signatures needed to allow voters to have the final say.
Kai Jackson reports opponents are subdued.
“It’s not for us. It’s not a civil rights issue. It’s a decision that you make as an individual,” said Angel Nunez.
Opponents took their message to church congregations and to the airwaves.
Their work continued even in the campaign’s final hours, greeting voters at polling locations, trying for every last vote.
“Nobody knows which way this is gonna go. This one is one of those things where it could come down to one, two, three, four, five, 10 votes. Every vote matters on this issue,” said Rev. Derek McCoy, Maryland Marriage Alliance.
But marriage equality advocates have also worked tirelessly drumming up support for same-sex marriage.
Armies of volunteers have worked the phones and raised money for their own ad campaign.
“Because it’s about fairness, treating everyone equal under the law,” an ad says.
And who’s who of politicians, celebrities and even athletes like Baltimore Ravens players Brendon Ayanbadejo campaigned on their behalf and shook hands at the polls on Election Day as they tried to sway undecided voters.
“It’s pretty much a no brainer,” Ayanbadejo said. “I think we are going to look back in 10 years and even wonder why we had this question up.”
In a statement, Governor Martin O’Malley said, “Over these past few weeks, Marylanders joined together to affirm that for a free and diverse people of many faiths – a people committed to religious freedom – the way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights and human dignity of all.
“A lot of people worked very hard to make this day possible, including the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP, SEIU, clergy and community leaders.
“To Maryland’s children – please know that you and your families matter to the people of our State. Whether your parents happen to be gay or straight, Democratic, Republican or Independent, your families are equal before the eyes of the law.
“We have tremendous challenges as a nation, and it is my sincere hope that we can come together to meet those challenges with greater respect for the dignity of every individual.
“We are One Maryland, and all of us, at the end of the day, want the same thing for our children: to live in a loving, stable, committed home protected equally under the law.
“As we have done so often in our State’s history, Marylanders chose to come together to affirm this profound truth that has served as both the cornerstone — and the beacon of hope — of our nation.
“By this vote, the people of our State affirmed that we are One Maryland and that we’re all in this together.”
Same-sex marriage will take effect January 1.