For Immediate Release
Marylanders Cast Historic Vote on Ballot Measure, Affirming Freedom to Marry Law
WASHINGTON - Marylanders voted in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples today, affirming the freedom to marry legislation passed earlier this year and challenged in a ballot-measure. Today’s vote to affirm the law means that Maryland will begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples on Jan. 1, 2013.
“Maryland’s voters agreed with their lawmakers, governor, and a majority of Americans nationwide: same-sex couples should not be denied the chance to make the ultimate commitment because of whom they love. We look forward to all the marriages we’ll celebrate in 2013, even as we turn our momentum into more victories across the country,” said Shawn Werner, director of political operations at Freedom to Marry and an adviser to the Maryland campaign.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality undertook a multipronged public education effort, with a special focus on engaging African-American clergy and community leaders to speak out in the state, where African-Americans make up nearly 30 percent of the population.
Freedom to Marry partnered with the NAACP National Voter Fund for Question 6 on a radio spot and print ads featuring NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond making a civil rights argument for the freedom to marry. In addition, Freedom to Marry helped create and fund a radio spot featuring President Barack Obama speaking of his journey to support for marriage. In total, Freedom to Marry invested more than $200,000 into the campaign for marriage in Maryland in 2011-2012, building on years of partnership in the state laying the groundwork for victory.
In 2011-2012, Freedom to Marry invested $4.6 million into the four ballot states – Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington – and helped raise another $2.4 million to support public education in the four states, for a total of $7 million this cycle.
Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.