Md. governor signs bill legalizing gay marriage

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, center, greets supporters and members of the House of Delegates after the House passed a gay marriage bill in Annapolis, Md., Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

(AP) ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland's governor has signed a measure legalizing gay marriage, joining seven other states and the District of Columbia.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, signed the bill Thursday, a week after its final passage in the Legislature. The law is scheduled to take effect in January 2013.

However, opponents are expected to petition the law to a referendum on the November ballot.

Referendum organizers need to collect almost 56,000 signatures to put the measure before voters and are expected to rely heavily on churchgoers who oppose same-sex marriage as a matter of faith, to reach that goal.

Some pastors in predominantly black churches have begun using their sermons to push the referendum.


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