- The Washington Times - Friday, February 24, 2012

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will sign the state’s same-sex marriage bill into law during a ceremony Thursday in Annapolis.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, will sign the bill at 5 p.m., making Maryland the eighth state along with the District to legalize gay marriage.

The governor served as lead sponsor of the bill, which passed the Senate Thursday night and received House last week.

If signed, the law would not go into effect until Jan. 1.

While supporters are heralding their success, opponents are already organizing a petition effort to force gay marriage to a November referendum.

They would have until June 30 to collect 55,736 valid voter signatures in order to suspend the law and put it to a statewide vote this fall.

Delegate Neil C. Parrott, Washington Republican, said organizers hope to have their petition cleared soon by state officials and begin collecting signatures in about two weeks.

• David Hill can be reached at dhill@washingtontimes.com.

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