Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — President Obama wasn’t the only winner on election night. Voters in four states sided with gays and lesbians at the ballot box.
Derek Valcourt has more on how Maryland’s Question 6 made history.
It was a watershed moment for gay rights. It is the first time ever a majority of voters in any state have sided with same-sex marriage.
“This is the civil rights issue of our time,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Governor O’Malley championed the bill and said the voters’ decision leaves no doubt “that every child’s home deserves to be protected equally under the law.”
“I feel validated as a gay person in America,” said Kalima Young.
Young and Francine Housier are among the thousands of same-sex couples now eligible to marry starting January 1 if they choose.
“For me, it means that just the circle of fairness and equality and justice in America has been widened,” Housier said.
While the law protects churches from being forced to marry same-sex couples, there are many churches ready and willing to host gay and lesbian weddings.
“Everybody knows what it means to be married,” said Sally Wall.
Wall and Pat Montley look forward to the legal protections of marriage, after having watched attitudes towards gays and lesbians slowly improve during their 33-year relationship.
“But until yesterday we still did not have that dignity. The dignity of knowing that our relationship was as worthy as the relationship of committed heterosexual couples, and that makes a huge difference,” Montley said.
Couples can begin applying for marriage licenses just after the new year.
Voters in Maine and Washington also agreed to allow same-sex marriage. Voters in Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.