Another Victory For Marriage Equality

Marriage equality wins another battle, but the war is far from over.
Maryland's governor signed a measure legalizing gay marriage Thursday, joining seven other states.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, signed the bill a week after its final passage in the Legislature. The law is scheduled to take effect in January 2013.

However, opponents — backed by many churches — are expected to petition the law to a referendum on the November ballot.

"Religious freedom was the very reason for our state's founding and at the heart of religious freedom is the freedom of individual conscience," O'Malley said just before adding his signature to the legislation, referring to the state's origins as a British colony that was a haven for Catholics.

Referendum organizers need to collect almost 56,000 signatures to put the measure before voters and are expected to rely heavily on churchgoers who oppose same-sex marriage as a matter of faith, to reach that goal. Even gay marriage advocates expect the referendum to end up on the ballot.

Six states and the Washington capital district already recognize gay marriages. The state of Washington has also legalized gay marriage, and its law takes effect in June. Voters there are expected to petition the measure to referendum this November.
Like California before it, Maryland will likely go through a long, protracted fight over this issue.

As far as I'm concerned, this is a matter of civil rights -- and you simply cannot put an issue of civil rights on a ballot for a public vote.