New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg traveled to Maryland to support marriage equality on Friday, saying that a vote to approve the statewide referendum known as Question 6 is “the right thing to do.”
The mayor spoke at a press conference in Baltimore with Governor Martin O’Malley and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, according to WBAL-TV. Maryland voters will decide whether to uphold the civil marriage law on November 6, when the state could become one of the first to uphold marriage equality in a public vote.
"I think all of us believe, along with a growing majority of Americans, that welcoming committed gay couples to the rights and responsibilities of marriage is the right thing to do," Bloomberg said.
The mayor also spoke about the economic impact of the marriage equality law passed in New York last year, WBAL-TV reports. He said that more than 8,000 same-sex couples have been married in New York City since then and generated over $259 million for the local economy.
"Every wedding is a celebration that generates revenues for our restaurants, banquet halls, caterers and other small businesses," said Bloomberg. "In fact, we've calculated that same-sex marriage has generated more than $259 million in economic activity in the last 12 months."
Mayor Bloomberg contributed to the effort to pass the legislation in New York, and he recently donated $250,000 to the campaign in Maryland. He has also contributed $500,000 to the marriage referendum campaigns in Maine, Minnesota and Washington through a new super PAC launched this month.
A new poll from the Baltimore Sun over the weekend showed voters deadlocked on the marriage equality referendum, with opposition increasing over the past month. Compared to last month, when the measure was ahead 49% to 39%, the new poll indicates a tie.
Growing opposition among African Americans targeted with ads from marriage equality opponents accounts for some of the change, according to the Sun. Black voters make up an estimated 25% of the voting population in Maryland. A late September survey showed a majority of African-American voters in favor of the marriage equality referendum, but the new poll showed blacks oppose the measure 50% to 42%.