Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley will
sign a gay marriage bill into law on Thursday, making Maryland the
eighth state to legalize such unions.
The Maryland Senate joined the House of
Delegates in approving the bill last month.
O'Malley introduced the measure earlier
this year and testified in its favor during committee hearings on the
“It is not right or just that the
children of gay couples should have lesser protections than the
children of other families in our state,” O'Malley told one panel.
“Nor would it be right to force religious institutions to conduct
marriages that conflict with their own religious beliefs and
The governor is scheduled to sign the
legislation during a 5PM ceremony Thursday.
Opponents of the measure on Wednesday
announced that the State Board of Elections had approved their
petition language, The
Washington Post reported. The campaign to put the law up for
a popular vote will be organized by the Maryland Marriage Alliance,
which is supported by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
Nearly 56,000 valid signatures,
one-third of which would need to be submitted by May 31, with the
remainder by June 30, are needed to put the measure on the fall ballot.