Maryland becomes eighth state to allow same-sex couples to marry as threat of referendum looms
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley today signed the marriage equality bill, making the state the eighth to allow same-sex couples to marry. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is a member of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition, and Task Force staff were on hand for the bill-signing ceremony in Annapolis.
O'Malley gave a speech in January at the Task Force's National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, the country's largest convening of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates, where he spoke of his staunch support for marriage equality.
The Task Force has worked with Maryland equality advocates over the years to secure protections for LGBT people and their families. This includes providing Equality Maryland with financial, technical and staff support throughout the 2011 legislative session. The Task Force, through its Faith Partner Organizing Project, has also worked with faith communities in Maryland on public education efforts leading to the passage of the marriage bill.
Maryland joins Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, Washington state, along with the District of Columbia, in allowing same-sex couples to marry.
While this marks a tremendous victory, the push for marriage equality in Maryland is poised to continue; the next step is likely to be the November ballot, where voters will support or oppose marriage equality.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
“Maryland today lived up to its state nickname, the Free State, with the signing of this historic legislation. It affirms what millions of people everywhere already know — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families should be able to join in the celebration and responsibilities of marriage, just as so many of their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers already do. Marriage equality is good for Maryland because it is good for Maryland's families.
“Thank you to Gov. Martin O'Malley and all of the lawmakers who recognized our common humanity by supporting this bill. Congratulations to Equality Maryland, Marylanders for Marriage Equality and all those who have been part of the journey leading to this victory.
“With a possible referendum this fall, it is vital we keep having the conversations about why marriage matters to our families. The Task Force stands with its coalition partners in this ongoing dialogue that is changing hearts and minds in Maryland and beyond.”