Maryland may become the first state to affirm same-sex marriage in a popular vote when voters go to the polls in November, NBC News is reporting. Lawmakers approved a measure in March that would allow such unions, beginning in 2013.
The waiting period was a compromise with opponents of the measure and an insurance policy for supporters. Lawmakers feared that if the measure was passed immediately, it would later be overturned, as with Proposition 8 in California.
Supporters of same-sex marriage in Maryland are hopeful, since it will be the first time a state has voted on the issue since President Obama voiced his support for the unions this year. The N.A.A.C.P. has also voiced its support for same-sex marriage this year.
The language on the ballot in Maryland will be different than the other 32 states where voters have been asked about the issue. The referendum question was previously phrased so that a vote in favor of the measure was a vote to reject same-sex marriage. In Maryland, however, the ballot will ask the question in the affirmative.
The Washington Post conducted a poll in January about people’s beliefs in same-sex marriage, and half of Maryland residents said they supported it. Now polls are suggesting a rise in support, largely believed because more black voters are opening up tot he idea. That’s significant in Maryland, as blacks make up roughly one-third of votes in typical elections.
Written by: Karen Benardello