Thursday, March 8, 2012

Governor O’Malley Signs Marriage Equality into Law

Last week Governor Martin O’Malley (D) signed the Civil Marriage Protection Act into law. “The way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights of all,” said the governor before he signed the bill, “If there is a thread that unites all of our work here together, it is the thread of human dignity. …Lets sign the bill." After Gov. O’Malley signed the bill, everyone was invited to a public reception at the governor’s mansion. Though the bill doesn’t go into effect until 2013, it truly is a historic moment for many Maryland families and their LGBT loved ones.

Currently there are seven states and the District of Columbia where same-sex couples can marry, with several other states working hard toward achieving the same goal. New Jersey is working to over-ride the governor’s veto on the proposed marriage law, and Washington and New Hampshire are working to keep the right to marry for same-sex couples in place. In 2008, the California State Supreme Court legalized marriage equality, allowing 18,000 same-sex couples to legally wed. Unfortunately, voters petitioned to place the freedom to marry for same-sex couples on the ballot, and the law was repealed, resulting in myriad lawsuits. In February, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 8 in California – which eliminated the right to same-sex marriage – was unconstitutional.

Maryland may face a similar reality if opponents are successful in placing a measure on the ballot that could potentially eliminate the state’s newly gained marriage equality. The state’s voters are divided on the issue. According to a January 2012 poll by the Washington Post, 50% of Maryland voters supported civil marriage for same-sex couples, while 44% were opposed. Since the governor has signed the bill, opponents will now need to collect 56,000 signatures to place the measure on the ballot, according to the MD State Board of Elections. A third of these signatures would need to be submitted by May 31 with the rest of the necessary signatures being submitted by June 30. If all the signatures are collected it will be up to the people of Maryland to decide whether same-sex couples will be able to marry.

Take Action: If you live in Maryland, please be sure to encourage those in your communities to decline to sign this petition. The opposition needs 56,000 signatures to put the marriage law on the public ballot.
It is time that Maryland State makes marriage equality the law in our state – liberty and justice for all – no exceptions.

1 comment:

Rafael Mireles said...

There's a Divorce attorney in West Palm Beach who's really in favor of passing the marriage equality law cause she thinks that it could really lessen the number of married couples who are filing divorce.