Md. governor signs bill legalizing same-sex marriage

Greeted like rock stars, Governor Martin O'Malley, Senate President Mike Miller, and House Speaker Michael Busch take the stage to make history.

Maryland joins seven states and Washington, DC, to legalize same-sex marriage.  The bill was at the top of Governor Martin O'Malley's agenda.

"The way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights of all," said Gov. O'Malley.   

Outside of the House and Senate chambers, where the bill narrowly passed, supporters were shoulder to shoulder to witness the bill signing.

Reverend Diana Carroll and Sarah Lamming live in Maryland but made their commitment legal in the UK.

"We've actually been civil partners for three years, really.  It's great.  We enjoy it.  And every time I have to check single on an application form it breaks my heart because I am married to Dianna," said Lamming.   

The bill was made law, but same-sex couples are still a long way from walking down the aisle.  The petition was approved, so now the Maryland Marriage Alliance is printing forms.  They will need 55,726 signatures to make it to the ballot.

"I have in my hands a pencil and it has an eraser on the end.  They might as well have signed that bill in lead," said Del. Emmett Burns, (D) Baltimore County.   

Opponents take jabs at Gov. O'Malley's intentions.

"He's just doing this for his own political gain, maybe national office later.  It makes no sense for Marylanders.  He's just doing, stirring a lot of controversy," said Del. Neil Parrott, (R) Washington County.    

But back at the statehouse, supporters are getting ready to fight until November.

"The more people talk about it.  The more people see what the bill is about, the more their minds start to change," said Ezekiel Jackson, Maryland for Marriage Equality.    

"We're planning on having a mass wedding ceremony in Brooklyn at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2013," said Joseph Steward, who supports same-sex marriages. 

The bill allows the first marriages to happen the beginning of next year.  But if a third of those signatures are collected by May 31, and the remaining by June 30, it will go on the November ballot. 

A recent poll shows 49 percent of Marylanders are in favor of same-sex marriage, and 47 percent oppose.

 

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