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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) in Maryland

Activity: 2011-JUL to SEP:
Catholic opposition. Voter referendum?
Governor O'Malley's support video.

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This is a continuation from a previous essay

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2011-JUL-22: Catholic bishops in Maryland condemn Governor's support:

The Maryland Catholic Conference of bishops responded to the Governor O'Malley's decision to support for same-sex marriage (SSM) "with great disappointment." Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Conference issued a statement saying:

"The Maryland Catholic Conference opposes the redefinition of marriage based on the clear understanding that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the definition of marriage. Therefore it is with great disappointment that we learn of Governor Martin O’Malley’s decision to include same-sex marriage in his administrative package of bills that he will sponsor during the 2012 General Assembly.

In a letter to the Governor, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, chairman of the Maryland Catholic Conference, joined many others in our state in urging the Governor not to take this step, which we believe so clearly conflicts with the best interests of our society. We continue to urge members of the Maryland General Assembly not to allow this issue to be driven by partisan politics, and to give full and fair consideration to the legitimate reasons why our state should maintain its recognition of marriage as [only] the union of one man and one woman.

The moral and social impacts of redefining marriage would be pervasive and severe. Stripping marriage of its unique connection to parenthood disregards the reasons why government has always elevated marriage over all other relationships as the fundamental building block of society.

Treating heterosexual and same-sex relationships differently is not unjust discrimination. Upholding the truth of marriage furthers the rights and equal dignity of all human persons by promoting a social fabric where children can benefit from the unique gifts of a mother and a father." 5

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2011-JUL-24: Voter referendum expected if SSM bill passes in 2012:

Some religious and social conservatives expect the Maryland legislature to pass a SSM bill in 2012. Delegate Pat McDonough, (R-Baltimore County) who is a vocal opponent of SSM said:

"I believe it has a good chance of passing. If if does pass, it'll definitely end up in a voter referendum. Conservatives and religious people against gay marriage are going to show up to vote en masse."

Another a voter initiative is already on the 2012 ballot that might encourage the "no" vote on SSM. Opponents have collected over 100,000 signatures to overturn proposed legislation for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants if it is passed in 2012. That referendum will probably motivate many social conservatives to come out and vote on election day in 2012-NOV. They would probably vote against a possible SSM referendum as well.

Senator Jamie Raskin, (D-Silver Spring) said:

"I think there's a general tectonic shift in public opinion on the marriage issue. People who were on the fence before now support it. I don't think there will be as much public support for [a same-sex marriage] referendum. There are huge generational changes taking place."

Sen. Karen Montgomery, (D-Silver Spring) said:

"You know it's going to be a real interesting year. We're going to have some long and lively debates -- that's for sure." 1

Nate Silver maintains the FiveThirtyEight blog on the New York Times web site. He specializes in the statistical analysis of political trends and campaigns. He has built statistical models that attempt "... to predict the percentage of the vote that gay marriage-related ballot initiatives would receive ..." in the District of Columbia and in each of the 50 states if they were held on election day in 2012-NOV.

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Statistical predictions of the outcome of a possible referendum:

Nate Silver maintains the FiveThirtyEight blog on the New York Times web site. He specializes in the statistical analysis of political trends and campaigns. He has built statistical models that attempt "... to predict the percentage of the vote that gay marriage-related ballot initiatives would receive ..." in the District of Columbia and in each of the 50 states if they were held on election day in 2012-NOV. 2

On 2011-JUN-29, Silver published an analysis for each state using two techniques:

  • A linear model which assumes that the support for same-sex marriage increases at about the same rate every year, and

  • An accelerated model that uses the trend line from national polls on same-sex marriage. 

He writes that the two models "... produce nearly identical estimates on the historical data, they diverge somewhat in their forecasts [of future data] because same-sex marriage appears to have gained support at a faster rate in the last couple of years."

He predicts that during 2012-NOV, Maryland voters would rank 19th among the 50 states in terms of support for SSM.

His linear model predicts a 53.9% vote share for a hypothetical same-sex marriage banning referendum in Maryland on 2012-NOV. His accelerated model predicts a 49.2% vote share. The results are too close to call. Whether same-sex marriage was banned or continue would probably be dependent largely on the level of fear-based advertisements that those opposed to SSM would invest in.

These numbers represent every politician's worst nightmare. If they vote for marriage equality, they will be exposed to the anger of about half of the adult population; surveys show that most of those opposed to SSM are seriously opposed. if they vote for inequality, they will upset the other half. Most of those who favor SSM also are seriously in favor. This is a lose-lose situation for every legislator.

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2011-SEP-28: Governor O'Malley creates YouTube video:

The following video was uploaded to YouTube by MDers4MarriageEqual:


Nine days later, on 2011-OCT-07, the video had received 4,479 views, 78 likes, and 5 dislikes.

In the Comments section:

  • "tytheeman" wrote: "Thank you so much Governor O'Malley! This law will protect everyone and make our state much more equal and much more free. Let us do this, it's time to treat everyone equally."

  • "slander255" wrote: "Free exercise of religion without government intervention." Thank you, Governor O'Malley, for taking this phrase in the proper direction. Here in North Carolina, our free exercise of religion is being threatened by those who want to keep churches from performing same-sex marriages that will be recognized by the state."

  • There were 13 positive comments and zero negative comments.

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Discussion of this topic continues...

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Brian Hughes, "Md. gay marriage opponents expect voter referendum," Washington Examiner, 2011-JUL-25, at:
  2. Nate Silver, "The Future of Same-Sex Marriage Ballot Measures," FiveThirtyEight blog, 2011-JUN-29, at:
  3. "Governor O'Malley is a Marylander for Marriage Equality," You Tube, 2011-SEP-28
  4. Marylanders for Marriage Equality has a web site at:
  5. Mary E Russell, "Governor’s Decision to Sponsor Same-sex Marriage Bill is Regrettable," Maryland Catholic Conference, 2011-JUL-22, at:

Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > MD > here

Copyright © 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-MAR
Latest update: 2012-JAN-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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