Whenever marriage equality has gone before the public in a referendum, it has lost. As a result, 31 states ban legal recognition of same-sex couples. Four states — Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington — will put the question to voters this November. So it’s understandable that proponents of same-sex marriage would worry about anything that would stand in the way of victory — a first victory — at the ballot box.
Last week, I told you about the disquiet in the gay community about the efforts by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to arrange a special session of the legislature to approve a bill legalizing a sixth casino. This measure would require the concurrence of Marylanders at the ballot box in November. The battle on both sides will be intense, with millions being spent by casino operators to kill or save the new casino project. And the big fear is that there will be “potential for collateral damage,” as Chrys Kefalas, former legal counsel to former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) told me last Wednesday, as more conservative voters swarm the polls to have their say.
But other proponents of marriage equality aren’t nearly as pessimistic, and they have the numbers to back up their rosier view.
“The momentum on this issue is on our side,” said Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman for O’Malley. “The numbers are going in the right direction. President Obama’s endorsement [of marriage equality] has helped, and we’ll have an aggressive grass-roots campaign.” He added, “Marylanders have always voted to expand opportunity.”