Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley made history today by signing the state’s marriage equality bill into law. Maryland is the eighth state to legally allow marriage for same-sex couples. Two weeks ago, the House of Delegates approved the bill by a 72 to 67 vote, followed by Senate, which voted 25 to 22 in favor of the bill last Thursday. While opponents of marriage equality are making plans to repeal the new legislation in the upcoming November election, spokesperson Takirra Winfield said Governor O’Malley has faith that voters would support the state legislature’s decision. The Maryland State Board of Elections is requiring that nearly 56,000 signatures be collected by June 30 in order to place a voter referendum on the November ballot.
“Step by step, we continue to draw closer to full equality for every American,” said Mike Thompson, Acting President of GLAAD. “Today’s historic bill signing reflects the opinion of a growing majority of Americans who -- regardless of race, political affiliation and religion -- believe that every committed couple should be able to marry the person they love. Though opponents have already taken measures to deprive gay and lesbian Marylanders of the vital protections that only marriage can afford, we remain confident that voters will echo Governor O’Malley’s support for full equality.”
Six states and the District of Columbia already issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; Washington State is set to do the same beginning in June 2012. A May 2011 Gallup poll found that 53% of Americans believe that “marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid.”