The Adventist Review shares the following world news from Religion News Service as a service to readers. Opinions expressed in these reports do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Review or the Seventh-day Adventist Church. -- Editors

Maryland Churches to
Fight Gay Marriage Law 


BY MICHAEL FOUST                                                                                                           ©2012 Baptist Press

Religious leaders in Maryland say citizens will get the final say on a gay "marriage" bill that is set to become law--with churches playing a critical role in possibly overturning it.

The Maryland Senate passed a bill Thursday (February 23) by a vote of 25-22 that would redefine marriage, less than a week after the House of Delegates approved the same bill, 72-67. Democrats control both chambers, and Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley--who endorsed the bill in his State of the State address--is expected to sign it.

Maryland is but the latest state to act on the issue in what has been a dizzying year on the state level: Washington's governor signed a gay "marriage" bill, New Jersey's governor vetoed one and a coalition in Maine gathered enough valid signatures to place a gay "marriage" referendum on the fall ballot.

Like Washington state, Maryland law allows citizens to gather signatures in an attempt to "veto" new laws. Signature drives in both states likely will be successful. Maryland church groups must gather approximately 56,000 valid signatures for it to go on the November ballot.

A coalition has been formed known as Maryland Marriage Alliance (www.MarylandMarriageAlliance.com) to fight the law, which isn't set to take effect until January 2013.
 
"We will do whatever we can to mobilize for the referendum," Robert Anderson, pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Maryland, told Baptist Press."[The other side has] got all the money. But with God, all things are possible."

Catholics, too, figure to be involved heavily. Baltimore Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien released a statement after the vote, saying the archdiocese will "eagerly and zealously engage its 500,000 members in overturning this radical legislation" and will join with others "throughout Maryland in aggressively protecting the God-given institution of marriage." 

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