You've probably heard by now that Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed that state's Civil Marriage Protection Act yesterday afternoon, making same-sex marriage legal in Maryland for the first time. Hooray!!! We'd like to give Maryland a big thumbs up, round of applause, hearty hug, and high five! Thanks for setting a good example and bringing marriage equality to every person in your state. What happens now? Well, the process is, unfortunately, not quite complete. Opponents of same-sex marriage in the state are working to collect enough signatures to bring a referendum on the Civil Marriage Protection Act to the ballot in November's general election. This would essentially be a veto referendum: If the referendum passes, then the new law legalizing same-sex marriage is repealed. The flip side, of course, is that if the referendum does not pass, then Maryland voters will have voted in favor of marriage equality for their state, and that's actually a really big deal because Maryland would then become the very first state to have effectively approved same-sex marriage by a popular vote.
What does this mean for you, right this minute, if you're a gay or lesbian couple who would like to marry in Maryland? Even if the expected referendum does not pass, you'll have to wait until the new law goes into effect on January 1, 2013, to obtain a marriage license and marry in Maryland.
Interested in helping the cause of marriage equality in Maryland? The Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition would be a good place to start. You can check them out via their webpage or their Facebook page.
While we're based in Virginia and none of us can vote in the Maryland general election, we're pulling for you, Maryland! And we can't wait until same-sex marriage is a sealed deal on the other side of the Potomac.