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Poll Finds Marylanders Split on Marriage Equality

Poll Finds Marylanders Split on Marriage Equality


As advocates led by Governor Martin O'Malley prepare a renewed drive to pass the marriage equality law in Maryland next year, a new poll finds voters almost evenly split on the issue.

The Washington Post reports on the poll from Gonzalez Research and Marketing Strategies. According to the results, 48% of Marylanders who vote regularly favor a law allowing same-sex marriages, while 49% of that population are against allowing same-sex marriages. A January 2011 poll by the same firm found that 51% of voters supported a law allowing same-sex marriage and 44% opposed it.

"There is a notable difference based on race," reports the Post about the new poll. "Fifty-one percent of white voters approve, compared to 41 percent of African-American voters. Meanwhile, 46 percent of white voters disapprove, compared to 59 percent of African Americans."

African-American voters, who represent almost 30% of the population in Maryland, could be critical to the fate of the legislation, where opposition from African-American pastors was blamed for the failure of the marriage equality bill to advance to the floor in the House of Delegates this year. Advocates also wanted to see more involvement from Governor O'Malley, who recently pledged to prioritize the bill in the 2012 legislative session. On Monday, he appeared in the first video for the new online Marylanders for Marriage Equality series with a message about balancing religious freedom with the freedom to marry.

The Post reports that voters' opinions also matter because marriage equality opponents have vowed to collect enough signatures to put any potential law to a statewide vote in November 2012.

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