Gay Marriage Bills Face Opposition in Several States

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Maryland could soon follow the state of Washington to become the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage. But supporters of traditional marriage are fighting back -- and not just in Maryland.

It's an uphill battle for supporters of traditional marriage in the Old Line State. Maryland lawmakers approved a measure legalizing gay marriage last week by a 72-67 House vote.

The state Senate cleared the bill last year and is also poised to pass the final legislation this week.

If the measure is passed by Maryland's legislature, opponents say they'll hold a referendum drive.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, told CBN News he's confident voters would overturn the bill, especially given support from African Americans who make up a large percentage of Maryland voters.

"We know that the African-American community has 70 percent opposition to same-sex marriage. It means that, although Maryland is a very Democratic state, that voters in Maryland don't support same-sex marriage," Brown explained.

Meanwhile, Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire signed same-sex marriage legislation last week, and attempts to stop the bill at the ballot box are already underway.

But there's concern that voters may be confused by two similar options on the ballot.

Referendum 74 would repeal the gay marriage law and Initiative 94 goes a little farther, defining marriage as between one man and one woman. What remains unclear is what would happen if voters approve the initiative, but not the referendum.

In New Jersey, state lawmakers celebrated after passage of same-sex marriage bills in both chambers.

Gov. Chris Christie, however, was swift to veto the measure and note that an override appeared unlikely.

"They're nowhere near the votes needed to override in either chamber, so hopefully we can move on from this issue," the governor said.

Voters in North Carolina and Minnesota will decide on gay marriage later this year. North Carolina has a May 8 referendum vote on a marriage amendment. In Minnesota, the issue will appear on the ballot in November.

Currently, seven states plus Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage. Maryland could soon be added to the roster and Washington state will likely face a repeal.

Thirty other states already have constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage and 10 states have statutes that ban the unions.

A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could change everything. Many believe the battle surrounding California's Proposition 8, which ended gay marriage in that state, will eventually end up at the high court.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

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