Maryland Gay Marriage Foes Exceed Signature Goal for Referendum
Supporters of a Maryland referendum that would reverse the state's gay marriage law have submitted more than twice the number of signatures needed -- a month ahead of schedule, Baptist Press reports. The Maryland Marriage Alliance needed to collect 55,736 valid signatures by June 30 to place a referendum on the November ballot that would overturn the gay marriage law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley earlier this year; instead, it submitted 113,000 signatures May 29, all of which it said were valid. Though Maryland is a left-leaning state, the new law could be in danger because of strong opposition from churches. Last year, opposition from black pastors was critical in defeating a gay marriage bill in the legislature. It squeaked by in the state Senate this year, 25-22, days after it passed the House of Delegates 72-67. Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, said President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage only helped the signature drive. "Support for the referendum was strong from the beginning and has only intensified once President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage."