Marry-land to become 8th state to legalize same-sex marriage
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a longtime supporter of the state’s push for marriage equality, is expected to sign the bill into law this Thursday, making Maryland the eighth state in the country to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Pushes for and against similar laws continue in other states in New England and across the nation.
Same-sex marriage advocates in Maine are celebrating the Feb. 23 news that marriage equality will be back at the ballot box in a Citizens Initiative this November. Maine’s Secretary of State Charlie Summers confirmed Thursday that supporters had collected enough signatures to allow a ballot measure on the issue this year. If passed in November, Maine’s gay and lesbian couples will gain the right to marry in the Pine Tree State. More than 105,000 signatures were submitted for verification at the end of January.
"We’re one step closer to winning marriage for lesbian and gay couples in Maine!" EqualityMaine field director Amy Mello wrote in a message to supporters. "We’re working to make history and win marriage at the ballot."
"Over the past few years, marriage supporters have been talking to their friends, families, coworkers and neighbors about why marriage matters," said Marc Solomon, national campaign director at Freedom to Marry. "As we work to win at the ballot, Freedom to Marry will be there every step of the way alongside Equality Maine, GLAD, and others to continue telling the stories of why marriage matters to loving, committed gay and lesbian couples in Maine, and secure a win at the ballot this November."
There’s no doubt Mainers have changed their minds on marriage equality since the Pine Tree State’s first try at legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples. "Mainers have changed their minds on this issue," Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine, told the Associated Press. "They want the chance to right a wrong."
Marriage advocates told the AP that 54 percent of respondents in a December survey of 800 likely voters favored legalizing same-sex marriage.
It looks like a bill repealing New Hampshire’s same-sex marriage law has a good chance of passing in the Republican-controlled House and Senate. Democrat Gov. John Lynch has vowed, however, to veto the measure should it come to his desk, and it’s unclear whether the Legislature will be able to override said veto.