On November 6, 2012, Maryland became the ninth jurisdiction in the United States to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples when a majority of Marylanders voted for Question 6 at the ballot on Election Day. Read more about the historic vote.
Question 6 upheld the freedom to marry, which was passed legislatively in the form of the Civil Marriage Protection Act by the Maryland state legislature, signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley on March 1, 2012, and challenged by anti-gay activists with a referendum. Same-sex couples began marrying in Maryland on January 1, 2013.
In February 2010, the Maryland Attorney General issued an opinion stating that Maryland law should honor out of state marriages with no gay exception. At the time, the state Supreme Court wrote a decision upholding marriage discrimination. Despite the disappointment, Maryland marriage activists worked at the legislative level to ensure that same-sex couples in Maryland can access some protections.
On March 1, 2012, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed the freedom to marry bill into law after it passed in the state legislature. Immediately, anti-gay activists began collecting signatures to overturn the law. The law will now face a referendum in the November 2012 election.
In May 2012, Maryland's Court of Appeals ruled that the state will recognize marriages of same-sex couples who married out-of-state, no matter the outcome of the November election.
After months of campaigning, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the coalition working to pass Question 6, declared victory on November 6, 2012, a historic night where marriage ballot measures also passed in Maine, Minnesota, and Washington.
GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:
- Marylanders for Marriage Equality is the coalition working for the freedom to marry in the Free State.
- ACLU Maryland works to ensure that all people in the state of Maryland are free to think and speak as they choose and can lead their lives free from discrimination and unwarranted government intrusion.
- Equality Maryland is Maryland's largest LGBT civil rights group working to secure and protect the rights of LGBT Marylanders by promoting legislative initiatives at the state, county and municipal levels.
- Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
- Maryland Black Family Alliance is a coalition of black families and leaders of many faiths who stand for fairness, justice and equality for all families.
A large majority (57%) of Maryland voters said they would vote to uphold the freedom to marry at the ballot in November 2012, with 37% saying they would vote against marriage for all couples. This is consistent with a January 2011 Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies poll showing 51% support for marriage in the state.residents support the freedom to marry. (Public Policy Polling, May 2012)
NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:
According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 12,538 same-sex couples are living in Maryland, representing 5.8 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
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Soon after the federal government's announcement, several other states where same-sex couples can marry - including Washington state, Maryland, and Maine - confirmed that they, too, would honor the couples' marriages.
Resources Related to Maryland
A media primer on the LGBT issues landscape for the coming year released by the Human Rights Campaign.
A statewide poll found that a majority of Maryland residents support the freedom to marry.
A listing of both state and national political parties that have made strong statements in support of the freedom to marry.