Supporters Prepare to Push for Same-Sex Marriage in Maryland

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With November elections approaching, one item on the ballot has some Marylanders rallying its supporters. Same-sex marriage will be Question 6, and news from Metro Weekly indicated on Wednesday that the president of the Prince George's County NAACP branch is endorsing voter approval.

Meanwhile, religious supporters of the referendum petition are hearing from black pastors who want to see the question succeed in becoming a law, according to the Washington Examiner.

Here's a closer look at Question 6 and the latest news regarding how activists are preparing to see the question succeed or fail.

* Prince George's County NAACP president Bob Ross said that "Question 6 gives gays and lesbians the right to obtain a marriage license," noting that churches will not be obligated to marry same-sex couples.

* Prince George's County has the largest percentage of African-Americans in the state, with 64 percent of the population being African-American as noted by Metro Weekly.

* The Rev. Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton is leading a group of clergy with the intent to change the impression that "all African-American pastors are fundamentally opposed to the idea of marriage equality," according to the Examiner. Coates said that view is wrong.

* The Maryland pastors and clergy intend to meet at the National Press Club on Friday to announce their support for the ballot question.

* The language of the question primarily focuses on mitigating religious concerns, as noted by the Maryland State Board of Elections. In addition to affirming the legislation allowing gays and lebsians to seek a marriage license, the question notes that it would protect "clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs" and that "each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith."

* In addition, religious organizations would be protected from any requirement to provide goods, services, and benefits would violate their beliefs.

* MSNBC reported that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and Governor Martin O'Malley are planning to attend an event intended to raise money in support of the question. The Monday Night Football party in Baltimore will be on Oct. 8.

* Maryland would be the first state to uphold same-sex marriage by a vote, according to the Washington Examiner. North Carolina was the most recent of 32 other states to vote against same-sex marriage.

* Washington, Maine, and Minnesota are also considering the same issue this fall.

Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington in Gaithersburg, Md.

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