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Petition drive launched on same-sex marriage in Maryland

Petition drive launched on same-sex marriage in Maryland

Catholic News Service Briefs

March 6, 2012

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CNS) -- Leaders of a petition drive to bring Maryland's recently passed same-sex marriage legislation to referendum expressed confidence they will collect more than the nearly 56,000 needed signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. "You are going to find that in just a few short weeks, we are going to turn in not only the signatures," said the Rev. Derek McCoy, leader of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, "but, ultimately, we are going to uphold (traditional marriage) for the citizens of Maryland." Rev. McCoy joined several members of the House of Delegates during a Feb. 29 news conference in Annapolis outlining the goals of the petition drive. The Maryland Marriage Alliance, which has partnered with the Maryland Catholic Conference, filed a petition with the Maryland Board of Elections Feb. 24 to be the official proponents of the referendum campaign against the same-sex marriage legislation. Its website, marylandmarriagealliance.com, will become the official site to obtain petitions for the referendum. Maryland citizens will stand up against same-sex marriage, Rev. McCoy said, because they recognize the "intrinsic, fundamental value to society" of maintaining the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. The Maryland Marriage Alliance will be working in churches, synagogues, mosques and other grass-roots organizations to promote the petition drive, Rev. McCoy said. Last year, a bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed in the Senate, but was returned to committee in the House of Delegates when there were not enough votes for passage. Gov. Martin J. O'Malley, a Catholic who sponsored this year's legislation, helped win its passage in the House and Senate. He signed the measure into law March. 1, asserting that "the way forward" is found in "greater respect of the equal rights of all, for the human dignity of all."