The Associated Press has shared ballot language released by the Secretary of State in Maryland, where marriage equality legislation that was passed earlier in 2012 will come to a referendum vote in November. Question 6 reads as follows:
“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.”
The legislation would exempt religious institutions from being required to perform marriages for lesbian and gay couples, but would ensure that all couples are allowed to seek civil marriage licenses from the state.
As in Washington state, the language for the marriage equality ballot question in Maryland is phrased as an affirmative statement. Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, commented approvingly on the language in a statement, saying, “The wording is accurate and straightforward and will serve as another way to educate voters. This referendum is about equality under the law and protecting religious freedom, and we know the more people know about this issue the more they support it. Voter education is what's fueling our momentum."