Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley To Sign Civil Marriage Protection Act

James Johnson

Thanks to a vote of 25-22 the Maryland Senate was successful on Thursday in gathering the final approval needed for the Civil Marriage Protection Act to be signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley.

After the act is passed Maryland will potentially become the eighth state to approve marriage for gay couples and the fourth state to reach such consensus in the last 12 months.

Senate approval for the gay rights act comes after years of failed attempts in the state. Gay activists have argued for years that gay marriage in the state would provide them with equal access to marriage rights including hundreds of protections set forth by the state's union.

O'Malley's spokesman said the governor would sign the act into law "within a week."

While the act may be signed by the Governor there's still a chance that it will not be fully implemented anytime soon as opponents to the measure have promised to petition for a referendum which would require Maryland voters to decide in November if the Civil Marriage Protection Act should be put into law. A recent poll shows a near 50/50 split over the issue by Maryland voters.

Even if the act does not pass during a November referendum vote the bills approval by the State Senate marks a vast improvement since the 2010 election cycle. Before that time the act stalled at a key Senate committee which kept the bill off the floor.

Following failed attempts in the past Gov. Martin O'Malley put the full weight of his office into the battle, backing the bill while working with House Democratic leaders to gain the final votes needed to pass the bill by a single vote last Friday.

Do you think Maryland voters will allow the Civil Marriage Protection Act to pass if it comes down to a November vote?