Last night the Maryland State Senate approved legislation ending the prohibition against marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Governor Martin O’Malley has promised to sign the bill into law.
That’s an important step forward for all Maryland families. It’s become clear in Maryland, as in other states, that preventing same-sex couples from getting married causes real harm to real people. But that doesn’t mean the fight is over. As the Baltimore Sun reports:
With the state Senate’s approval Thursday night of the governor’s bill to legalize civil marriage for same-sex couples, opponents are expected to State elections officials say they are already getting calls seeking information on how to start the process.
Even the bill’s staunchest supporters expect its opponents to easily gather the 55,736 signatures necessary to put the question on the November ballot.
Getting enough signatures would prevent the law from going into effect before the referendum. If the campaign against marriage equality plays out like it did in states like Maine and California, that means there are a lot of ugly, dishonest ads coming to Maryland’s airwaves. But if the debate in the legislature is any indication, ugly smears against gay people won’t be any match for honest conversations with those affected by the law.