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O’Malley to Sign Maryland Marriage Bill Thursday

O’Malley to Sign Maryland Marriage Bill Thursday

Maryland governor Martin O’Malley will sign the marriage equality bill into law this Thursday, one week after the Senate passed the measure.

The Associated Press reports that the governor will sign the bill in a ceremony at 5 p.m., making Maryland the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriages. A spokesperson for O’Malley said the location for the signing was still being determined.

The Senate passed the bill in a 25-22 vote last Thursday, six days after the House of Delegates passed the bill in a 71-67 vote. The law is scheduled to take effect in January 2013, but opponents have vowed to challenge the measure in a referendum this November.

According to the AP, opponents of same-sex marriage began the petition process last Friday. Nearly 56,000 valid signatures are needed to place the law on the ballot. Ministers of several African-American churches in Prince George’s County and Catholic groups have promised to help repeal the law,  The Washington Post reports. O’Malley, who made marriage equality one of his legislative priorities this session, has said he will campaign strongly to retain the law should a referendum take place.

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