Photo by Jamie Rector/Getty Images.
It looks likely gay-marriage opponents will have a chance to put their public-referendum winning streak on the line in Maryland this fall.
The Washington Post reports that a coalition of conservative and religious groups on Tuesday delivered more than twice the 55,700-odd signatures they need to add the referendum to this November's ballot.
State lawmakers signed off on a bill earlier this year that will allow gays and lesbians to marry beginning in 2013. But the law's lag time was designed to give opponents the chance to force the public referendum on the issue, as they appear to have done, pending an official tally of the signatures.
LGBT advocates have been on something of a judicial and state legislative hot streak of late, but they have been so far unable to post a victory in a voter referendum on gay marriage. Voters have gone to the polls more than 30 times since 1998 to have their say on statewide ballot measures on the issue; advocates for same-sex marriage have lost every time.
Still, given President Obama's recent public backing of same-sex marriage, many gay rights activists are hoping that they'll finally find themselves celebrating the results of a referendum for the first time later this year. Their opponents, however, appear anything but concerned about the fact the president has lent his voice to the general effort.
"When President Obama and the NAACP come out and they wanted to support this issue, well, great, we appreciate that because you help energize our [side]," Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, told the Post.
The Baltimore Sun points out that this year’s effort has garnered far more support than last year’s initiative, which had submitted 47,288 signatures by the same deadline. The alliance has spent about $70,000 and expects to spend about $10,000 more.