Faith Advocates Call Marylanders to Defend Marriage

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ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland is on the verge of legalizing gay marriage. The state House is expected to decide on the bill Friday in a vote projected to be so tight, it could go either way.

If Maryland legalizes gay marriage, it will become the eighth state in the country to do so.

That's why traditional marriage supporters, including Democratic State Delegate Jay Walker, are doing everything they can to stop it.

"That's what I was taught all along in my personal ideology and my belief in Jesus Christ...that marriage is between a man and a woman, and if you believe in Jesus Christ, that's what you vote for to maintain it," Walker said.

The Maryland Family Alliance is standing by Walker's side, and they're calling on everyone in the state to do the same.

"We're calling all Marylanders, this is kind of an 'all hands on deck' call to attention, to come to Annapolis, where our capitol is, and make your voice be present," Rev. Derek McCoy, the group's president, said.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is rallying support for the gay marriage bill that he sponsored. Thousands are voicing their support.

"I believe in the dignity of every individual and understanding that the way forward is always the greater respect for the equality of all," O'Malley told the Washington, D.C., area television station WJLA.

"Everyone is very, very excited, and we're looking forward to getting marriage equality in Maryland," declared one gay marriage supporter.

A bill to legalize gay marriage failed to pass the state House last year. But this time around, the vote is expected to be a close one.

"It's been a long fight, but anything you believe in is worth fighting for, and I believe that's what I've been sent here to do," Walker said.

"Every state where this has passed has been by legislative or judicial maneuvering," McCoy noted. "It's never been by [a] common vote of people at all."

"Thirty-one out of 31 states have consistently shown that the people overwhelmingly still support marriage defined as one man and one woman," he said.

If the state House approves the gay marriage bill, it will head to the state Senate where it's expected to pass easily.

But those opposed to the bill say it will be a fight to the finish.

"If it does pass, we do have referendum ability," McCoy said. "And we have full intention of going to referendum and putting this before [a] vote of [the] people."

--Originally aired on February 17, 2012.

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