In front of in Rockville, Sharon Vignati and Denise Woodard, armed with clipboards and pens, asked voters Tuesday evening to support an issue that wasn’t on the primary election ballot.
In February, the Maryland General Assembly . Vignati and Woodard want to make sure that stays in place.
Opponents are attempting to collect 55,736 valid signatures from Maryland voters by June 30 to block the new law from taking effect on Jan. 1, The Washington Post has reported. If they get the necessary signatures, voters would be asked on the November ballot whether to repeal the law.
“We’re asking people to sign a pledge that if it goes to the ballot, that they’ll vote not to let (the repeal) happen,” Vignati, of Germantown, said Tuesday.
Vignati and Woodard, who plan to marry in November 2013, were part of an effort by Marylanders for Marriage Equality to counter the repeal efforts.
They asked voters to sign a pledge “to show your support for defending all Maryland families. All children, no matter who their parents are, must be protected equally under the law.”
"It’s a show of force to say we understand there’s people who are opposed, but we think there’s more people who are with us than against us, and we’re capable of getting signatures, too, and we’re capable of showing support also," Vignati said.
Some same-sex marriage supporters, based on the history of similar ballot questions in other states, worry that putting the question to voters statewide could put the new law in peril.
California voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2008, less than five months after a state law legalizing such marriage took effect. A federal appeals court struck down the ban in February, leading supporters to petition the court to review its decision, though the matter ultimately could be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
State Sen. Robert J. Garagiola, who was the lead sponsor of a same-sex marriage bill that passed the Senate but died in the House of Delegates last year, said that while campaigning in Western Maryland he was pleasantly surprised to find more support for the law than he expected.
“There are true blue Democrats out in Garrett County,” Garagiola said while greeting voters at Robert Frost Middle School in Rockville. Garagiola, a Germantown Democrat and a three-term state senator, lost the Democratic primary in the 6th Congressional District on Tuesday to John Delaney.
Vignati said not many of the voters she talked to Tuesday told her they oppose same-sex marriage.
“Some people say ‘Yes, we support it, but we don’t want to sign,’ ” she said.
Whether voters pledged to support same-sex marriage or not, “I think people know it’s coming,” she said.