Home / FEATURED / Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley Signs Gay Marriage Bill

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley Signs Gay Marriage Bill

Maryland became the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage when Democratic Gov. Mar-tin O’Malley on Thursday signed into law a bill approved last week by lawmakers

The Associated press report:

Maryland’s governor signed a measure legalizing gay marriage Thursday, joining seven other states.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, signed the bill a week after its final passage in the Legislature. The law is scheduled to take effect in January 2013.

However, opponents ? backed by many churches ? are expected to petition the law to a referendum on the November ballot.

“Religious freedom was the very reason for our state’s founding and at the heart of religious freedom is the freedom of individual conscience,” O’Malley said just before adding his signature to the legislation, referring to the state’s origins as a British colony that was a haven for Catholics.

Referendum organizers need to collect almost 56,000 signatures to put the measure before voters and are expected to rely heavily on churchgoers who oppose same-sex marriage as a matter of faith, to reach that goal. Even gay marriage advocates expect the referendum to end up on the ballot.

Read the full article via USATODAY