Gov. Martin O'Malley is set for a victory lap today when he signs into law his hard fought measure to legalize same-sex marriage. The signing is set for 5 p.m. in the State House.
There will be waiting, however: But even with the governor's signature, same-sex couples won't get Maryland marriage certificates until the law goes into effect in January 2013 -- at the earliest. Fired-up opponents have pledged to collect 100,000 signatures opposing the bill by June 30 -- about twice what they would need to trigger a state-wide referendum on the topic.
On Wednesday several powerful groups joined forces to accomplish that goal. Polls show that Marylanders are evenly split on the issue -- so there's no telling what will happen in November.
UPDATE: Amid cheers and camera flashes from a crush of onlookers, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law yesterday his bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland — legislation that raises his national profile and, advocates say, gives momentum to those pushing similar measures in three states.
"The way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights of all," said O'Malley, giving brief remarks before signing the legislation. "If there is a thread that unites all of our work here together, it is the thread of human dignity. … Let's sign the bill." More at the Baltimore Sun.
Gov. O'Malley writes for the Huffington Post:
"The common thread running through our efforts together in Maryland is the thread of human dignity: the dignity of work, the dignity of faith, the dignity of family, the dignity of every individual, the dignity of a free people who, at the end of the day, all want the same thing for our children."