Moments ago, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland, making the state the eighth in the nation to offer marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples. Opponents of the measure have already filed the necessary paperwork to start collecting signatures for a referendum to overturn the law. They will have until June 30 to collect 56,000 valid signatures in order to successfully put the issue up to a referendum in November. The law is set to take effect in January of 2013, well after a referendum would take place.
As he prepared to sign the measure, flanked by supporters, O’Malley framed the issue as one of religious liberty and human dignity, saying, “for a free and diverse people, for people of many faiths, for people committed to the principal of religious freedom, the way forward is always found through grater respect for human rights of all, through human dignity for all.” “We are one Maryland and all of us at the end of the day want the same thing for our children. We want them to live in a loving, caring and committed home that is protected equally under the law.” Watch it: