WASHINGTON - Marylanders could make history Tuesday by voting to legalize same-sex marriage. Polls show the initiative, known locally as Question 6, is neck-and-neck in the four states taking up the issue, but supporters are optimistic Maryland could pull ahead in favor of gay marriage.
Members from both sides of the issue spoke on WTOP Thursday morning.
"This is a simple measure about equality and fairness for the gay and lesbian couples of our state," Maryland State Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-18, said. "I think the fair-minded majority ... will embrace that issue of equality, that sense of fairness."
Opponents aren't so sure. Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, said the issue for many is not about discrimination.
"For us, it's not a political issue," he said. "Loving and accepting our gay and lesbian colleagues, family and friends does not mean we have to redefine marriage."
Since 1998, 32 states have voted on same-sex marriage and all 32 states have opposed it.
This year, Minnesotans are taking up a constitutional ban against gay marriage. State polls show voters there remain deadlocked on the issue.
But recent polls in Maryland, Maine and Washington give backers of same-sex marriage a slight edge. In the past, comparable leads in other states, notably California in 2008, evaporated by the time voters hit the polls.
Maladeno is "guardedly optimistic" this won't happen again.
"When you talk about those other states, no one has had this type of lead going into the election so close to Election Day," he said.
McCoy emphasized that legalizing same-sex marriage is an issue that could affect more than just gay couples. He is concerned about school curricula.
"You're changing the law. We instruct from the law ... so this does affect the kids and the future," he said. "It's really about the future and the next generation."
But Maladeno sees this as a non-starter.
For example in D.C., which legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, lesson plans have not been impacted, he said.
"There would be an outcry if it has. It hasn't, and it won't happen in Maryland."
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in six states - Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
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