By Ryan Collett
When Washington state Governor, Christine Gregoire, signed a law legalizing same-sex marriages in February, almost immediately a referendum initiative was started by opponents of the new law. Even with Gregoire’s signing, the legalization of gay marriage in Washington only takes effect at the start of the new year, giving opponents time to create a referendum to strike down the new law.
The state of Maryland faces similar problems with its same-sex marriage legislation that was passed in March by Governor Martin O’Malley. Like Washington state, Maryland’s gay marriage legalization only takes effect in January 2013.
A referendum to strike down a newly signed law requires a certain number of signatures which then qualifies the referendum to go to the voting public. The referendum then appears on the November ballot.
If Referendum 74 in Washington and Question 6 in Maryland win the vote in November, then the same-sex marriage legalization signed into law by each state’s respective governor will be void.
As November comes closer, both states are gearing up for heated battles between same-sex marriage supporters and opponents. Town hall meetings, phone banks, and door-to-door campaigns are already being created by gay marriage opponents in Maryland
Despite the opposition, recent polls in both states show support for gay marriage gaining more traction over the opposition.