Maryland has become the eighth state, the second in a matter of two weeks, to pass a marriage equality bill. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the bill into law on Thursday, joining the six other states, plus the District of Columbia and the pending June 2012 dateline for the recent Washington state ruling, in legally recognizing same-sex marriage.


“Step by step, we continue to draw closer to full equality for every American,” said Mike Thompson, Acting President of GLAAD. “Today’s historic bill signing reflects the opinion of a growing majority of Americans whoregardless of race, political affiliation and religionbelieve that every committed couple should be able to marry the person they love. Though opponents have already taken measures to deprive gay and lesbian Marylanders of the vital protections that only marriage can afford, we remain confident that voters will echo Governor O’Malley’s support for full equality.”

The bill swiftly swept the House of Delegates two weeks ago in a 72-67 vote, followed by the Senate which voted 25-22 in favor of the bill last Thursday. The Maryland State Board of Elections is requiring that nearly 56,000 signatures be collected by June 30 in order to palce a voter referendum on the November ballot. If opponents are unable to do so, the law igs scheduled to go into effect January 2013.