The Maryland Senate voted 25-22 today to legalize same-sex marriage, and the bill now heads to the desk of Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, who will sign it. However, the new law won’t take effect until January, which allows opponents to put a referendum on the ballot in November if they can gather 55,736 signatures.
Meanwhile, in Maine, the secretary of state has confirmed enough valid signatures from same-sex marriage supporters to get the issue on the November ballot. In 2009, Maine voters rejected marriage equality by 53 percent to 47 percent, but polls show a majority now support it.
In any case, it now appears almost certain that marriage equality will be on the ballot in at least a handful of states this year. And gay activist John Aravosis at Americablog says that’s why it’s critical for President Barack Obama to hurry up and complete his evolution on the issue:
The President obviously wants us all to get out the vote in November. But there are key constituencies with whom the President has great sway, and who are not terribly good on gay rights issues as compared to other Democrats. Why does that matter? Well, take Maryland. Maryland will likely see an effort on the November ballot to repeal the just-passed marriage equality legislation. Nearly a third of Marylanders are African-American. And black Democrats in Maryland are twice as opposed to same-sex marriage as white Democrats in the state.