Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed legislation on Thursday that grants same sex couples all the marriage rights currently enjoyed by opposite sex couples.
“Religious freedom was the very reason for our State’s founding,” he said in a statement. “At the heart of religious freedom is the freedom of individual conscience.
“If there is a thread that unites the story of our people, it is the thread of human dignity; the dignity of work; the dignity of family; the dignity of every child’s home; the dignity of every individual,” O’Malley added. “We are One Maryland, and all of us, at the end of the day, want the same thing for our children: to live in a loving, stable, committed home protected equally under the law.”
Maryland is now the eighth state to have legalized same sex marriages.
On February 13, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) signed a bill into law allowing same sex couples to marry. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and the District of Columbia have all legalized same sex marriages as well.
The New Jersey legislature also recently approved same sex legislation, but it was vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
Those who oppose same sex marriage have vowed to collect the 55,736 signatures needed place a repeal of the Maryland law on the November ballot.
“Legislators who vote to redefine marriage will be held accountable to their constituents,” Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, said.
No same sex marriages can take place in Maryland until the law takes effect on January 1.