by Annie Linskey
12:01 PM CST, February 28, 2012
Though Gov. Martin O'Malley hasn't even inked his freshly passed law legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland, a group of faith leaders has already filed paperwork to start a petition drive aimed at repealing it.
The Maryland Marriage Alliance, made up of mostly African-American church leaders, said in a news release they will take the lead role in gathering signatures to put the law on the November 2012 ballot. They will be joined by the Maryland Catholic Conference, and, they said, the National Organization for Marriage, a national group that supports traditional unions.
Derek McCoy, the executive director of the MD Marriage Alliance said supporters of same-sex marriage "have been seeking influence from an elite group of politicians and supporters" but "the average citizens of Maryland continue to believe in the time-tested, unalterable definition of marriage."
O'Malley is set to sign the bill at 5 p.m. Thursday, though it would not go into effect until January 2013.
Opponents must gather nearly 56,000 valid signatures by June 30 in order to trigger the referendum. Maryland's referendum process was rarely used until recently. Last year opponents of the Maryland Dream Act, legislation allowing in-state tuition discounts for illegal immigrants, was easily petitioned to the November 2012 ballot.