On the call, Governor O’Malley and the campaign pointed to the three expected attacks from the opposition – all of which we’ve seen before.
- Exploiting racial lines to trying to pit African American voters against gay rights
- Creating uncertainty around the true meaning of the ballot language
- Using the fear tactic that this means kids will be taught to be gay in school
Polling and Race
“While the media has been focused on what impact President Obama’s announcement will have on his own reelection prospects, the more important fallout may be the impact his position is having on public opinion about same-sex marriage itself.
Maryland voters were already prepared to support marriage equality at the polls this fall even before President Obama’s announcement. But now it appears that passage will come by a much stronger margin.”
Polling Among Republicans and Independents
The campaign reports that they have nearly twice the support among Republican voters that any earlier state has seen. With 30% of Romney voters reporting that they support Question 6, Campaign Manager Josh Levin argues there has been promising support both among voters and prominent republicans in the state like Ken Mehlman, David Frum, and Walter Olson of the Cato Institute, among others.
Independents are polling close to democrats, according to the campaign.
Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.
Governor O’Malley and the campaign believe that this language outlining the protections for religious organizations that oppose marriage equality undercuts opposition on the grounds of “religious liberty,” and sees this as a benefit when voters walk into the voting booth. His central message to voters in his advocacy has been that, “As a people, we can and must protect religious freedom and rights of individuals equally under the law. No child’s home in Maryland should be protected to a lesser degree under the law.”
My only concern with this ballot language is that it, as has been done in most races before, seems to imply that civil marriage and religious freedoms are fundamentally at odds. To me, it is important to also emphasize that religious liberty and freedom also extends to churches that seek to perform marriages between gay couples. I think there is power in the message from clergy that seek to perform these marriages – something that the African American clergy hit on at the Friday press event and something that religious organizations have as a powerful tool. The campaign also reports the support of several hundred clergy from an array of denominations and faiths.