“The Bill is Signed” – Marriage Equality in Maryland
March 1, 2012 by Kevin Nix, Campaign Media Director
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has just signed a historic bill extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. HRC is proud to have been a founding member of the coalition to pass the marriage bill, and its work on the ground with state partners.
HRC committed extensive resources to the legislative effort in the Free State, including helping to create Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the broad-based coalition made up of labor, faith, civil liberties, and LGBT organizations. HRC provided the campaign’s senior staff and spearheaded the field, communications, and faith components of the coalition effort. Learn more about HRC’s engagement in the effort to get the bill passed.
Pending a likely referendum process, Maryland now joins six other states – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont – plus the District of Columbia in recognizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples under the law. Additionally, Washington state passed marriage equality earlier this year and that bill is expected to be on the ballot in November as well. 8 states—California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island—provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.
A January poll by the Washington Post showed 50 percent of Marylanders support gay and lesbian couples getting married.
Today’s legislative win for marriage equality comes at a historic moment. In the past few weeks, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled California’s discriminatory Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional; Governor Christine Gregoire signed marriage equality into law in Washington State; and a marriage bill passed the New Jersey legislature. Six states and the District of Columbia recognize marriage equality, with Washington State’s law set to go into effect in three months.
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