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Churches At The Center Of Md. Same-Sex Marriage Debate

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Last week's Senate approval of the state's same-sex marriage bill marked another victory for supporters. But the campaign to give the last say to voters is underway.

As Gigi Barnett reports, churches may be at the center of the fray.

Maryland's same-sex marriage bill has passed two major hurdles--the House and Senate.

Now it's primed for the governor's signature. But after that the battle to get the issue in front of voters is already underway, and churches may be at the forefront of the campaign.

"The word marriage is what we're all not liking," said Phyllis Walstrum.

Many members at St. Alphonsus Shrine in Baltimore are against the same-sex marriage bill. Parishioners like Phyllis Walstrom and Alice Charnasky aren't against equal rights, but they believe that only traditional unions should be called "marriage." And they fear most voters don't see it that way.

"In today's world, they will probably go the other way... Not my way," said Charnasky.

"We've been waiting a long time," said Kathleen Flayhive.

At First Unitarian Church in Baltimore, the service is about to start. Most members support the bill. Long-time partners Kathleen Flayhive and Julie Ferguson celebrated when it passed, but know that the fight isn't over.

"I have so much faith that our dream of my 87-year-old mom walking us down the aisle will come true," said Flayhive. "One day."

If the measure reaches the ballot, voters will decide in November.

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