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State passes marriage equality

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Published on: Thursday, November 08, 2012

By Christa Puccio

ROCKVILLE - Question six on the November ballot on the civil marriage protection act passed in Maryland with 51.9 percent for the referred law, according to the Maryland State Board of Election’s unofficial 2012 Presidential General Elections results.

“We are one Maryland, and all of us, at the end of the day, want the same thing for our children – to live in a loving, stable, committed home protected equally under the law,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

As written on the ballot, the Civil Marriage Protection Act establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.

“Maryland’s voters agreed with their lawmakers, governor and the majority of Americans nationwide – same sex couples should not be denied the chance to make the ultimate commitment because of whom they love,” said Shawn Werner, director of political operations at Freedom to Marry and an advisor to the Maryland campaign.  “We look forward to all the marriages we’ll celebrate in 2013, even as we turn our momentum into more victories across the country.”

In Montgomery County, 64.28 percent voted for question six, the civil marriage protection act, according to the Montgomery County Board of Election’s unofficial results. 

“Gay and lesbian families will now be treated with dignity, fairness and equal protection under the law,” said State Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County).

Marriage equality also passed in Maine and Washington on the 2012 November Ballot. 

“This is a monumental victory,” said Marylanders for Marriage Equality Coalition Campaign Manager Josh Levin. “Tonight Marylanders across the state stood up and affirmed our longstanding tradition of supporting fairness and equality. As the crowd cheers at the Baltimore Soundstage, ripples are being felt across the country as we stand up proudly as the first state in the nation to approve civil marriage for all loving, committed families.  Legislatures and courts have legalized marriage equality in six states and the District of Columbia. Maryland is the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through a vote of the people.”

The NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous also said he is proud of the result.  “Maryland made history tonight, and I am proud,” said Jealous.  “We achieved this important step toward equality because civil rights leaders, church leaders and the LGBT community came together throughout the state with a united message that civil marriage is a civil right.”

The Civil Marriage Protection Act will go into effect in 2013.

Over these past few weeks, Marylanders joined together to affirm that for a free and diverse people of many faiths – a people committed to religious freedom – the way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights and human dignity of all,” said O’Malley.  “By this vote, the people of our state affirmed that we are one Maryland and that’s we’re all in this together.”

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