Maryland legalizes same-sex marriage; challenge looms

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signs the Same-Sex Marriage Bill into law.

Maryland became the eighth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday, just as opponents were ramping up efforts to repeal the new law at the ballot box.

At a ceremony in the state capitol building attended by a cheering crowd of gay-marriage supporters, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the measure he has hailed as a sign of “equal respect for the freedom of all.”

Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia currently allow gay and lesbian nuptials.

Washington will join the list in June unless opponents stop it ahead of a possible ballot initiative, and Maryland will be added in January 2013 unless its law, too, is overturned by a threatened referendum in November.

Same-sex marriage supporters in Maine, meanwhile, have gathered more than enough signatures to put the question to voters there this fall, all but guaranteeing it will remain a hotly debated issue in several corners of the country during a presidential election year.

In Maryland, opponents need nearly 56,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot, according to the state Board of Elections. They would need to submit a third of the signatures by May 31 and the remainder by June 30 to get the measure on the November ballot.

A coalition called the Maryland Marriage Alliance has applied to the state to lead the referendum push, and its director has said he expects the group’s petitions will be pre-cleared by state officials for circulation by the end of this week.

Derek McCoy, director of the group, said on Wednesday his coalition was already training outreach teams and could be in churches training pastors on the issue as early as Sunday.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance represents nearly 3,000 churches and organizations statewide that would like to see voters decide the issue at the ballot box, according to McCoy.

“All of those people, collectively, want to see the current definition of marriage upheld,” McCoy said.
Neil Parrott, a Republican in the House of Delegates who opposed the bill, said: “The petitions are going to be in mosques, they’re going to be in synagogues, in churches.”

Countering the repeal effort is Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a coalition including the Human Rights Campaign, the Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP, the Service Employees International Union, Equality Maryland and others that is working to build support for same-sex marriage.

The governor, in unusual personal testimony, urged support of the measure before a legislative committee in January.

The Senate voted in favor of the bill 25 to 22 last week after it was passed by the lower House of Delegates 72 to 67.

Under the new law, religious groups are not required to provide services linked to gay marriage that may violate their beliefs unless they receive federal funding.

Such protections would allow the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic group, to refuse to rent a meeting hall for a same-sex wedding and not require a church counseling service to counsel same-sex couples.
While controversial, same-sex marriage has been gaining acceptance recently. New Jersey passed a gay marriage law through both legislative houses, but it was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. An appeals court overturned California’s ban on gay marriage, enacted through a 2008 ballot initiative.
Supporters call it a civil rights issue while opponents say marriage should be reserved for unions of a man and a woman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…