Maryland Same-Sex Civil Marriage Referendum, Question 6 (2012)

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Question 6
Flag of Maryland.png
Click here for the latest news on U.S. ballot measures
Quick stats
Type:Veto referendum
Referred by:Citizens
Question 6, also known as the Same-Sex Marriage Referendum, was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Maryland as an initiated veto referendum, where it was approved.

The measure was in response to the enactment of the Civil Marriage Protection Act on March 1, 2012, which will allow same-sex couples to obtain a civil marriage license in the state beginning January 1, 2013,[1][2][3] and protect clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs.[4]


Through the referendum's approval, Maryland became one of three states, the others being Maine and Washington, to approve same-sex marriage in the 2012 general election. This marks the first time the proposal was approved by popular vote. The success of these referendums broke the national trend of banning same-sex marriage with ballot measures and inspired similar efforts in several other states who began laying the framework for future campaign immediately following the November vote.[5]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results
Maryland Question 6
Approveda Yes 1,373,504 52.4%
Official results from the Maryland Secretary of State.

Text of measure

Editor's note: A vote 'For the Referred Law' is in favor of keeping the current law allowing same-sex marriage, in place and unaltered.
The ballot measure read as follows:[4]

Question 6

Referendum Petition
Civil Marriage Protection Act (Ch. 2 of the 2012 Legislative Session)

Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.

For the Referred Law

Against the Referred Law


2011 legislative session

Senate Bill 116, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, was an attempt to allow same-sex couples to obtain a marriage license in Maryland. The bill would have granted equal rights and protections of civil marriage to same-sex couples in the state.[6][7] The bill was approved by the Maryland State Senate following a 25 to 21 vote on February 24, 2011.[8] On March 11, 2011 the House of Delegates returned the bill to committee, halting the approval of the proposed measure. According to reports, lawmakers objected to the speed at which the measure was considered.[9]

2012 legislative session

House Bill 438, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, was introduced on February 1, 2012.[10] This version provides more explicit legal protections for religious leaders, institutions, and their programs if they refuse to officiate or provide facilities for a same-sex marriage or couple.[11] The Maryland House of Delegates approved the bill, 72–67, on February 17,[10][12] and the Maryland Senate approved the bill, 25-22, on February 23.[13][14] The final bill was amended so that it would not take effect until January 1, 2013, allowing the ballot process to take its course in the event of referendum.[15] On March 1, 2012, Governor Martin O'Malley signed the bill into law.[1][16]

Maryland, It's Time, 11-02-2012


The following information is in respect to supporters of Question 6, which would allow same-sex civil marriage in the state.



  • Governor Martin O'Malley supported the legalization of civil marriage for same-sex couples.[22] At an Equality Maryland fundraiser, O'Malley said:
"It is through their eyes, the eyes of the children of gay and lesbian couples, that I have viewed this issue. This is all about the protection of families. Even people who do not yet agree with us on this issue, there is a lot of goodness in each and every individual and we need to engage in that goodness. We need to call people to that goodness."[23]
  • Catholics for Equality praised the passage of the law and leadership of Catholics in the General Assembly, saying, "This bill not only betters the lives of lesbian and gay couples and their children, but the lives of our Catholic families throughout the state...Today’s celebration in Maryland is a reminder to all American Catholics that our faith community plays a critical role in advancing LGBT equality."[24]
  • Julie Mertus, a professor of human rights at American University, wrote in opposition to the referendum. She argued that civil rights legislation should not be put to a vote because it creates a "tyranny of the majority" situation.[25]

Campaign advertising

See also: Maryland Same-Sex Civil Marriage Referendum, Question 6 television ads
  • On September 28, 2011, "Marylanders for Marriage Equality" released the first campaign video in favor of law that would make same-sex marriage legal in the state. The video features Governor Martin O'Malley who says in the video that he plans to introduce the legislation in early 2012. The legislation, he says in the video, will protect religious freedom and equality of marital rights under the law.[26]
  • Religious leaders and faith groups participated in the "Marylanders for Marriage Equality" campaign. Notably, the Reverend Al Sharpton spoke out in support of civil marriage rights for committed same-sex couples. Local clergy around the state Maryland lobbied the legislature and conducted rallies of support as well.[27]

Tactics and strategies

  • Marylanders for Marriage Equality began a pledge drive in hopes of gathering support to defeat the referendum once it reaches the ballot.[28]
  • On April 11, 2012, Marylanders for Marriage Equality announced that it had hired political strategist Josh Levin to be campaign manager for the coalition.[29]

Parents Have No Rights , 10-25-12


The following information is in respect to opponents of Question 6, which would uphold the bill that allows same-sex civil marriage in the state.

  • In response to the legislation, Delegate Don Dwyer, Jr. said, "I can assure you that, should this bill come out of the House, it will go to referendum." Dwyer added that an effort to place a referendum on the ballot would begin as soon as the bill was passed.[30]
  • Sen. Nancy Jacobs said, "I don't think the votes on that board accurately represent the citizens of the state of Maryland. I think the vote on referendum in 2012 will be the vote of the people and I think this deserves to go to the people, and I'm sure it will."[31]



  • Some opponents argued that the law was an attack on parental rights because it could lead to teaching children that same-sex attraction was normal in public schools.[32]
  • Opponents also argued that the law more than simply allows same-sex marriages along side opposite-sex ones, but goes further in redefining marriage altogether as a genderless union of two people. They argued that such a change to the legal definition of marriage will lead to a host of societal conflicts.[33]
  • The case was also made that the law would create situations in which individuals could be punished for their religious beliefs. Opponents cited incidences in which wedding professionals were fined for not offering services to same-sex marriages. They also put forth the possibility that licensed professionals could risk losing their license "if they act on their belief that a same-sex couple cannot really be married."[33]

Campaign advertisements

See also: Maryland Same-Sex Civil Marriage Referendum, Question 6 television ads

Maryland Marriage Alliance released several video ads arguing against the law. Many of these can be found on their YouTube page.

Tactics and strategies


See also: Polls, 2012 ballot measures
  • A January 2012 poll by The Washington Post found that 50% of Maryland residents were in favor of same-sex marriage, while 44% were opposed. The margin of error was +/- 3.5 percentage points.[37]
  • A March 2012 poll of 600 registered voters, commissioned by Marylanders for Marriage Equality and conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 52% of Maryland voters would "probably" or "definitely" vote in favor of the same-sex marriage bill if it is on the ballot in November; while 44% of Maryland voters would "probably" or "definitely" oppose it.[38]
  • A May 14-21, 2012, poll of 852 registered voters, commissioned by Marylanders for Marriage Equality and conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 57% of Maryland voters would vote in favor of the same-sex marriage bill if it was on the ballot at the time of polling; while 37% of Maryland voters would oppose it.[39]
  • A September 25-27, 2012, poll of 804 registered voters, conducted by the Baltimore Sun, found that 49% of Maryland voters are in favor of the same-sex marriage bill; while 39% of Maryland voters are opposed it, and another 12% undecided. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.5%.[40]
  • An October 20-23, 2012, poll of 801 registered voters, conducted by the Baltimore Sun, found that 46% of Maryland voters are in favor of the same-sex marriage bill; while 47% of Maryland voters are opposed it, and another 6% undecided. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.5%.[41]
Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Sept. 19-27, 2011 Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies 48% 49% 3% 805
Jan. 23-26, 2012 Washington Post 50% 44% 6% 1,064
Mar. 5-7, 2012 Public Policy Polling 52% 44% 4% 600
May 14-21, 2012 Public Policy Polling 57% 37% 6% 852
Sept. 25-27, 2012 Baltimore Sun 49% 39% 12% 804

note: the data shows those in favor of same-sex marriage and those opposed or undecided


     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Path to the ballot

See also: Maryland signature requirements

In order to place a referendum question on the ballot, supporters were required to collect and submit at least 55,736 valid signatures.[42] One-third of the required number of signatures (18,579) were to be filed with the Secretary of State by May 1 and the remaining balance (37,157) to be filed by June 30.[30]

According to the Maryland Marriage Alliance, 113,505 signatures were turned in to the Secretary of State on May 30.[43] The group then submitted 39,743 more signatures on June 25.[44]

On July 10, 2012, the Maryland Board of Elections certified the measure after verifying 109,313 of the 162,224 signatures submitted. The Maryland Secretary of State has until the third Monday in August to certify ballot language for the measure.[45] The ballot language was released on August 20, 2012.[4]

See also

Suggest a link


External links

Additional reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 Linskey, Anne (March 1, 2012). "O'Malley to sign same-sex marriage bill today". Retrieved on 1 March 2012. 
  2. "Md. Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Gay Marriage", AP (March 1, 2012). Retrieved on 1 March 2012. 
  3. Associated Press (March 1, 2012). "Md. governor signs measure legalizing gay marriage; opponents pushing ballot referendum". Retrieved on 1 March 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Maryland State Board of Elections, " 2012 General Election Ballot Question Language," accessed August 21, 2012
  5. Washington Post, "With Maryland ballot measures, voters do the unprecedented — twice," November 7, 2012
  6. LGBTQNation, Majority of Maryland senators say they will support marriage equality, 14 Feb. 2011
  7. Southern Maryland Online, "Maryland Closer to Allowing Same-Sex Marriage," February 17, 2011
  8., "Maryland Senate Approves Gay Marriage," February 26, 2011
  9. The Washington Post, "Maryland House derails bill that would legalize same-sex marriage," March 12, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 House Bill 438 (Bill info). Maryland General Assembly.
  11. Volsky, Igor (January 25, 2012). "Maryland’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill Includes Most ‘Explicit’ Religious Conscience Protections". Retrieved on 19 February 2012. 
  12. "Maryland House Of Delegates Passes Marriage Equality Bill", ThinkProgress (February 17, 2012). Retrieved on February 17, 2012. 
  13. Md. gay marriage bill to become law Thursday afternoon, opponents begin referendum effort Washington Post. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  14. Hill, David (February 23, 2012). "Maryland senate approves same-sex marriage bill". Retrieved on 24 February 2012. 
  15. Tavernise, Sabrina (February 17, 2012). "In Maryland, House Passes Bill to Let Gays Wed". Retrieved on Sabrina Tavernise. 
  16. "Md. Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Gay Marriage", AP (March 1, 2012). Retrieved on 1 March 2012. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Annie Linskey (February 17, 2012). "Maryland lawmakers under national pressure on marriage bill". Retrieved on 20 February 2012. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Maryland Faith for Marriage Equality". Retrieved on November 26, 2012. 
  19. WBAL-TV, "AFL-CIO Backs Same-Sex Marriage In Md.," January 6, 2012
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 R
  21. 21.0 21.1 "MD Businesses for Marriage Equality". Retrieved on November 26, 2012. 
  22. The Baltimore Sun, "O'Malley raises money for same-sex marriage campaign," September 8, 2011
  23. The Baltimore Sun, "O'Malley raises money for same-sex marriage campaign," September 8, 2011
  24. Breaking: Gov. O'Malley Signs Marriage Equality Bill, Making Maryland Eighth State (Plus DC) to Do So Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  25. Baltimore Sun, "Since when do we have referendums on rights?" May 4, 2012
  26. Associated Press, "O’Malley appears in first of video campaign backing gay marriage in Maryland," October 3, 2011
  27. Clergy rally for Md. same-sex marriage bill "The Washington Blade" Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  28. Yahoo News, "Maryland Same-Sex Opponents, Supporters Gear Up for Fight," March 10, 2012
  29. Washington Blade, "Maryland gets campaign manager for referendum fight," April 11, 2012
  30. 30.0 30.1 The Washington Times, "Maryland gay-marriage foes prepare for 2012," February 28, 2011
  31. Metro Weekly, "Maryland Marriage Opponents Gearing Up for a Referendum," February 28, 2011
  32., "Opposition to Question 6 in Overdrive," October 27, 2012
  33. 33.0 33.1 Maryland Marriage Alliance campaign website
  34. ABC 7 "Maryland gay marriage opponents set up site calling for referendum," February 24, 2012
  35. Washington Post, "Second battle looms if Md. lawmakers pass same-sex marriage," March 10, 2011
  36. Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies, "Maryland Poll," January 2011
  37. John Wagner and Peyton M. Craighill (January 30, 2012). "Half of Maryland residents back legalizing same-sex marriage". Retrieved on February 17, 2012. 
  38. Annie Linskey (March 8, 2012). "Poll shows slim majority supports gay marriage in Md". Retrieved on March 12, 2012. 
  39. Public Polling Policy, "Maryland Same-Sex Marriage Referendum," May 24, 2012
  40. Baltimore Sun, "Poll finds support for same-sex marriage, but not gambling," September 29, 2012
  41. Baltimore Sun, "Md. voters evenly split on same-sex marriage," October 27, 2012
  42. 2012 Statewide Referendum Petition Filing Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  43., "Same-sex marriage opponents deliver boxes of signatures," May 30, 2012
  44. The Washington Blade, "Md. marriage referendum supporters submit 40,000 new signatures," July 3, 2012
  45. Baltimore Sun, "Same-sex marriage petition certified," June 10, 2012