President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Maryland voters should support the new marriage equality law when asked to decide in a likely referendum this November.
The Washington Blade reports that Obama spoke at a campaign fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore. The president announced his personal support for marriage equality in an interview last month with ABC News.
“We’re moving forward to a country where we treat everybody fairly and everybody equally, with dignity and respect,” he told the crowd. “And here in Maryland, thanks to the leadership of committed citizens and Gov. O’Malley, you have a chance to reaffirm that principle in the voting booth in November. It’s the right thing to do.”
The state legislature passed the law in February, but it has yet to take effect pending the outcome of the anticipated referendum. The Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group working to oppose the law, has submitted more than enough signatures to qualify the referendum and the state is in the process of validating them.
A Public Policy Poll last month found that 57% of voters in the solidly Democratic state support the marriage equality law, including some 55% of African-Americans, who make up about one-third of the population in Maryland. African-Americans favor the law by 55% to 36%, which represents a reversal of the numbers from March. The NAACP, which is headquartered in Maryland, declared its support for marriage equality after the president’s announcement.