( New York, March 1, 2012 ) -Today, Governor Martin O'Malley signed the Maryland marriage equality bill into law, adding the state to the growing list of U.S. jurisdictions granting marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart made the following statement:
"It's a great day for equality in Maryland. The state is indeed stronger today with marriage equality for same-sex couples and their families.
"This past month has been a momentous one for the LGBT community. From coast to coast -- in Washington, New Jersey and Maryland -- many elected officials are standing up for equality, and old-fashioned American values of fairness and common sense again have carried the day. People all across the country understand that marriage protects families, and that separate and unequal are not the American way.
"We congratulate our colleagues at Marylanders for Marriage Equality, who have worked tirelessly for this day. We also want to thank Governor O'Malley for his great leadership, and we are proud of the state legislators who voted for equality.
"Lambda Legal has been working towards marriage equality in Maryland for a long time. For years, we have defended out-of-state marriages of same-sex Maryland couples by winning recognition and benefits for police officers, school employees and other Marylanders."
GLAAD news release:
New York, NY, March 1, 2012 The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( GLAAD ) , the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today lauded Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's signing of a bill that will bring marriage equality to that state.
"Step by step, we continue to draw closer to full equality for every American," said Mike Thompson, Acting President of GLAAD. "Today's historic bill signing reflects the opinion of a growing majority of Americans who -- regardless of race, political affiliation and religion -- believe that every committed couple should be able to marry the person they love. Though opponents have already taken measures to deprive gay and lesbian Marylanders of the vital protections that only marriage can afford, we remain confident that, if asked, voters will echo Governor O'Malley's support for full equality."
Six states and the District of Columbia already issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; Washington State is set to do the same beginning in June 2012. A May 2011 Gallup poll found that 53% of Americans believe that "marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid."
( Annapolis, MD, March 1, 2012 ) Today, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed HB 438a bill providing full marriage rights for same-sex couplesinto law.
Maryland will become the 11th jurisdiction in the country in which same-sex couples can marry when the law goes into effect on January 1, 2013. Opponents have pledged to try to put the new law up for a popular vote before it takes effect.
Maryland joins seven other states, Washington D.C., and two tribal nations that no longer discriminate against same-sex couples in marriage.
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:
"There is no doubt that 2012 is off to a firecracker start when it comes to tipping the scales in favor of full equality for our relationships and a future where the promise of justice for all is realized. Governor Martin O'Malley, like Washington Governor Chris Gregoire last month, has distinguished himself as a political leader who takes seriously his oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. We know we have farther to go before every LGBT person can live fully and freely, but today in Maryland our brothers and sisters can rest easier, knowing that their families are recognized and secure under the law."