ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Opponents of a marriage equality bill passed in the Maryland state legislature — which is on its way to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s desk for his promised signature — have filed the necessary paperwork with the Maryland Board of Elections for a referendum petition to let Maryland voters decide the issue.
Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington County) said he filed draft language for a referendum petition with the state board of elections Friday, just one day after the Senate joined the House in approving a bill to allow same-sex marriages.
The elections board has a week to consider the submission and if it is approved, Parrott and others will begin collecting the 55,736 signatures needed to bring the measure to the November ballot.
“The process is started and really the goal is to make sure the citizens of Maryland can vote on this very important bill,” Parrott said.
In a statement released Friday, Lisa Polyak, Chairperson of Equality Maryland said, “It’s sad to me that anyone would think that it’s OK to put up the rights of a minority to a popular vote.”
Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, head of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, said that the Catholic Church would join forces with other religious organizations to defeat the legislation.
“Now, Maryland’s politicians unconscionably have chosen political expediency over the good of society–the fundamental charge of their office–by daring to redefine this sacred union between one man and one woman,” O’Brien said.
“The Archdiocese will continue to advocate for the preservation of both and will eagerly and zealously engage its 500,000 members in overturning this radical legislation, and will join with the hundreds of thousands of others in this Archdiocese and throughout Maryland in aggressively protecting the God-given institution of marriage,” he added.
Gov. O’Malley endorses the measure and is scheduled to sign the legislation in a 5 p.m. ceremony next Thursday, making Maryland the eighth state to legalize same-sex unions.