Anti-marriage-equality forces in Maryland had until Thursday to produce some 18,000 voter signatures—a third of the total 56,000 required to get the state’s new same-sex-marriage law put before a public referendum. On Tuesday, the Maryland Marriage Alliance (MMA) announced it already had more than 113,000 signatures.
“There are people that are just impassioned about this issue around the state,” said Alliance Director Derek McCoy at a press conference. “I think what you’re seeing is, people don’t want a radical redefinition of marriage just on a whim.”
Reuters reports that MMA broke out the big guns to get names on their tallies:
McCoy said more than 4,000 people trained to collect signatures campaigned in churches and other venues, and held gatherings in their homes within the last couple of months.
He said support for the referendum grew after President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, as Maryland voters unhappy with this announcement “came off the fence” and decided to sign the petition.
Kevin Nix of Marylanders for Marriage Equality took the news in stride, indicating it’s clear foes of gay marriage are losing ground:
“Given the low bar for petitioning a law to the ballot in Maryland, we’ve always expected same-sex marriage opponents to meet that threshold and then some—up to their stated target of 150,000.
But don’t confuse meeting the legal requirement with intensity or measure of support. It’s clear those opposed to marriage equality are losing ground. Our PPP poll last week showed 57% would vote to uphold the law—with 37% voting against—if the election were held today. A surge in support among African American voters (to 55%) in the wake of endorsements by President Obama and the NAACP are key factors in that change. As we open two new campaign offices and build out a robust field operation to offer information, register, and mobilize voters this summer and fall, we will be looking to maintain this record-level of support for marriage equality in Maryland.”