The Maryland Board of Elections has certified a petition from marriage equality opponents that will put the law to voters in a referendum this November.
According to the Baltimore Sun, “The Maryland Marriage Alliance submitted 162,224 signatures to repeal the law — the most turned in on any referendum issue in recent memory. The Board of Elections stopped verifying after approving 109,313 of them.”
Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the coalition working to uphold the law, anticipated that opponents would qualify the measure for the ballot. The state required 55,736 valid signatures.
Defenders of the marriage equality law are working to reach African-Americans, who make up around one-third of voters in the state. A Public Policy Poll survey in May found that 55% of African-American voters favored marriage equality, a substantial increase attributed to President Barack Obama’s announcement of support and an endorsement from the NAACP. The civil rights organization is headquartered in Maryland, and it is working with the coalition.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality released an online-only video ad Tuesday that featured African-Americans discussing why they were voting to uphold the law. Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the NAACP, issued a preview statement for the video.
“Marylanders will be casting a vote on the law – not on their faith. Equality under the law means equality for all, not just some,” he said. “If we're all going to be equal in America, being able to marry the person we love and raise a family is an opportunity we all should have.”