The state of Maryland got a little more fabulous tonight after Gov. Martin O'Malley officially signed a bill legalizing gay marriage. The bill takes effect in January 2013, which will make Maryland the eighth state to recognize gay marriage (six states and the District of Columbia currently recognize gay marriage, and Washington's law will take effect this June).
Of course, whenever there's a parade, there will always be a few haters peeing on it, and local conservatives are no exception; opponents of the bill are already trying to get rid of it by putting it to a vote in the November election. After the bill passed through the legislature last week, conservatives submitted draft language for a ballot referendum to overturn the law, and church leaders in the Old Line State are already putting their game faces on by asking members to sign a petition opposing the bill.
56,000 signatures, or three percent of those who cast ballots in the 2010 gubernatorial election, are required for the referendum to be put on the ballot in November. Gov. O'Malley and other gay-marriage supporters anticipate that this will indeed happen, and it already seems like gay-marriage opponents are, like, pretty gung-ho about it; last Sunday, a spokesperson for the Maryland Marriage Alliance repeatedly yelled to a Hope Christian Church congregation, "We will have the last say on how marriage will be defined in Maryland," and you know that when people chant something loudly it means they're super-duper serious about it.
For tonight, however, we can kick back, relax, have a few crabcakes, pop in a John Waters DVD, and enjoy Maryland's victory (and try to forget that they were a couple of years late on that freeing-slaves thing, 'cause they were busy and they were going through a lot of personal stuff at the time and it just totally slipped their minds).