- Israel, White House say Obama phone call to demand cease-fire was fake
- Nancy Pelosi: Deporting kids un-Christian, sends them ‘into a burning building’
- Islamist militants seize special forces base in Benghazi, Libya
- Feds sue Pennsylvania State Police over women’s fitness tests
- Israel accused of striking U.N. school, killing at least 15
- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
Gay-marriage foes play petition card
Referendum vowed if Md. legalizes it
Question of the Day
Supporters of same-sex marriage in Maryland have quickly shaken off their defeat in this year’s General Assembly and reorganized for another drive. But opponents say they are equally ready if a bill passes in 2012 and could employ a petition drive similar to the one that will likely force a referendum on the state’s recently passed Dream Act.
“I don’t think you can use a petition drive for every issue that goes down the road,” said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell, Calvert Republican. “But anything that pushes the envelope and gets people’s hot buttons pushed, the potential is there, and it’s real.”
The petition drive against the Dream Act, which would allow in-state tuition rates for many illegal immigrants, had gathered more than 100,000 valid signatures as of Wednesday - nearly twice the number needed to suspend the law and send it to a November 2012 referendum.
Organizers attribute their success in large part to offering an online petition - which accounted for about one-third of the first 47,000 validated signatures and helped make the effort Maryland’s first successful statewide petition drive since 1992.
If the assembly legalizes gay marriage, opponents could pattern their efforts after the Dream Act drive, which used a website and a grass-roots volunteer campaign to collect signatures greatly exceeding organizers’ expectations.
Gay-marriage supporters held a rally Tuesday in Baltimore to announce they have formed a coalition for the 2012 legislative session that includes such groups as Equality Maryland, Service Employees Union International, Catholics for Equality and the Human Rights Campaign.
Equality Maryland, which led this year’s unsuccessful effort, has since trimmed its staff, gained support from national advocacy groups and has drawn inspiration from the New York Legislature’s passing a same-sex marriage bill last month.
Equality Maryland hopes to improve upon last year’s effort, in which the bill easily passed the Senate, but hit unexpected problems and died in the House when some Democratic lawmakerswithdrew their support.
The bill gained support from only one Republican state legislator and failed largely because of a lack of support from moderate Democrats and black legislators from socially conservative, church-going districts.
Supporter hope to broaden support and have asked Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, to become more engaged and follow the lead of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat who vocally led a successful effort to win over socially conservative party members and some Republicans.
Mr. O’Malley was criticized this year for being too quiet, but has insisted he spoke privately with many legislators about the bill. Administration officials say the governor expects to be more active next year and is even considering sponsoring a gay-marriage bill.
O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said the governor is firmly behind gay marriage and hopes to “decide quickly” on whether to sponsor the bill.
She eschewed predictions from some political analysts that Democrats are taking a risk by pushing gay marriage, because a possible referendum on the issue could further encourage conservative turnout at the polls next year.
“The advocacy groups have focused, reorganized and have come up with a stronger plan to get this done,” she said. “We want to make sure that we come up with a plan that best ensures passage.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Ticket me Elmo? NYC mulls law for impersonators
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Government OKs Arab-owned company Gulftainer to operate U.S. cargo port
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world