Maryland Governor Signs Gay-Marriage Bill

But opponents plan for November referendum

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 1, 2012 6:55 PM CST

(Newser) – And then there were eight: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law today a measure making same-sex marriage legal in the state, reports the Baltimore Sun. One of the pens went to delegate Maggie McIntosh, the state's first openly gay lawmaker. "The way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights of all," said O'Malley. "Let's sign the bill." The law, however, does not take effect until 2013, and opponents plan to put it up for referendum on the November ballot.

According to AP, the outcome will likely hinge on black churches. Many leaders of those churches oppose same-sex marriage, and they've already begun pushing the issue in sermons. That's pivotal, because the state is one-third black, and turnout is expected to be heavy among African-Americans given President Obama's bid for re-election.

Rep. Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore City, center, poses for a picture with her partner Dianne Stollenwerk, left, and Stollenwerk's son, Dylan Thomas.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland Speaker of the House of Delegates Michael Busch, left, hands a pen to Rep. Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore City, an openly gay member of the House of Delegates.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley hands a pen to a supporter after signing the bill.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, right, looks on as Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller signs the Civil Marriage Protection Act in Annapolis, Md., Thursday.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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