“Referendum likely on same-sex marriage law.”

That is the Washington Post’s astounding headline concerning the homosexual marriage issue in Maryland.

Why astounding?

Because Maryland law requires that if any issue is to be put on the ballot for voters’ approval or disapproval, it must have 55,736 signatures.

And while Maryland is Democrat-dominated with regard to its governor and both houses of its state Legislature, supporters of the referendum to repeal same-sex marriage have already obtained 113,000 signatures.

That number means that it is surely more than “likely” (as the Post reported) that this issue will be on the November ballot.

The Post also reported:

“A coalition of religious leaders and conservatives organized to oppose gay marriage said weeks ago that they would easily beat Maryland’s first deadline on Thursday to file more than 18,000 signatures.

“But with two days to go, opponents said, President Obama’s recent announcement that he supports same-sex marriage appeared to have had the effect of invigorating not only supporters but also those opposed.

“The Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group leading the charge to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage law, said that since Obama’s pronouncement – and since leaders of the NAACP followed suit – opponents in Maryland have seen a surge in the number of residents seeking to put gay marriage to a statewide vote.

“‘When President Obama and the NAACP came out and they wanted to support this issue, well, great, we appreciate that because you help encourage our (side),’ said Derek McCoy, the group’s executive director.

“The Alliance on Tuesday filed more than twice the 55,736 signatures needed to qualify the measure for the ballot, and McCoy said the group was on pace to turn in well in excess of its goal of 150,000 signatures by the end of June.

“‘People that were on the fence are no longer on the fence; they’re engaged … countless thousands of Marylanders around this state want to see marriage go on the ballot. But they also want to see it defined and upheld between one man and one woman,’ he said.”

The Washington Times reported:

“On Tuesday, Mr. McCoy was flanked by volunteers and community and religious leaders who heralded the signatures as a sign that the majority of Marylanders are ready to join the more than 30 states that have rejected gay marriage in statewide votes.

“Petition organizers said they had gotten strong support from all ethnic and political groups, as well as more than 10,000 signatures from each of at least five counties.

“They also cast doubt on recent polls and arguments from gay-marriage supporters who say Americans are becoming more accepting of gay marriage and that Maryland could this year become the first state to legalize it in the referendum.”

The Post quoted Kevin Nix, a spokesman for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, who said his group would not rule out court challenges to the signatures, if merited. But he said supporters of same-sex marriage have always been focused on winning at the ballot in November.

Reported the Post: “With the help of online signature gathering, November will be the first time in 20 years that a petition drive has forced a vote on a Maryland law. … Same-sex marriage has failed in popular votes in a majority of the states.”

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