News

    Maryland Is Eighth US State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

    Chris Simkins

    Maryland has become the eighth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. But opponents of the new law are vowing to get it overturned by bringing the measure to a referendum and letting the voters decide in November. Maryland is not the only place where same-sex marriage laws are being challenged.

    "The way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights of all," said Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley as he signed the bill into law.

    Maryland joins seven other states and Washington D.C., with laws allowing gay couples to wed. It's been a hotly-debated issue that cuts across political, racial, social and religious backgrounds. Under the new law, gay couples in Maryland would not be able to marry until next year. David Foertschbeck and Dan Wilkey say they're already planning.

    "We'll get married next year probably, at some point, but we'll wait until it gets over the hurdle. The last hurdle," said Wilkey.

    Opponents of the same-sex law have vowed to bring the measure to a referendum and let the voters decide in November.

    "I have in my hands a pencil and it has an eraser on the end. They might as well have signed that bill in lead," said Maryland lawmaker Emmett Burns.

    Some African-American churches and clergy members are also pushing for a referendum. They oppose the law, saying it violates their tradition which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

    Same-sex marriage legislation and laws face obstacles in other states as well. In New Jersey, the legislature passed a bill to allow gays to marry, but the measure was vetoed by the governor.

    In California, gay marriage remains on hold since voters there narrowly approved a referendum called "Proposition 8" to ban it in 2008. A federal appeals court has struck down the ban as unconstitutional, but the case is still in litigation. It may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court as early as next year. However, legal experts say any ruling would only apply to California.

    "We believe marriage is between a man and a woman. And whether people like that or not that's what the people want," said George Reilly, a "Proposition 8" supporter.

    President Barack Obama says he supports letting states decide, but personally favors so-called "civil unions."

    "I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but I also think that same-sex partners should be able to visit each other in hospitals. They should be able to transfer property," said Obama.

    Obama has come under fire from some in the gay community for not supporting national efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. Several states like Illinois, Nevada, and Oregon allow civil unions, but have constitutional amendments or statutes that prohibit same-sex marriage.  Analysts say the debate will continue to intensify during this election year as public opinion polls suggest a majority of Americans support same sex marriage but only by a slim margin.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin 2
    March 04, 2012 6:33 AM
    for what can be known about God is plane to them…, So they are without excuse, for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchange the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

    by: Luke
    March 03, 2012 6:34 AM
    Congratulations Maryland! It pleases me immensely to hear this, especially on a news-day so laden down with the horrific reports of the past week's storms.

    I hope that those who seek to shoot it down fail horribly. Equal love, equal rights for all!

    by: Bob Skiba
    March 03, 2012 2:45 AM
    The abolition of slavery "violated tradition," too, but it was the right thing to do.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora