Gov. Martin O'Malley, second from left, with organizers of the Chefs for Equality event supporting Maryland's same-sex marriage law.
This is the final part of a weeklong series on ballot questions in the Maryland, The first part outlined the advertising battle over Question 7 on gambling expansion in the state, while the second part explored the heart of the debate over Question 4 on in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrants. The third part addressed Maryland voters' pending decision on redistricting and the fourth part examined the same-sex marriage debate from the side of the opponents.
Voters in Maryland could make history next month as the first state in the U.S. where same-sex marriage was upheld by via referendum. With less then two weeks until the election, polls show the law is likely to be upheld, but same-sex marriage supporters are not taking the positive poll numbers for granted.
Both sides of the issue held fundraisers this week, but the similarities ended there. While opponents raised money at a low-key affair in the lobby of a Silver Spring office building, supporters went all out.
Chefs from 40 restaurants around the region prepared food, while mixologists served up meticulously constructed cocktails at a fundraiser at D.C.'s Ritz Carlton Hotel. Same-sex marriage advocates will need more money in the days to come, said Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign.
"Counter the misleading ads, and the lies, and the scare tactics that are used by our opposition," he said. "They use the same old tricks in all of these campaigns across the country. So, it takes resources to communicate our positive message to voters about the impact this has on families."
The polls showing Maryland voters okaying same-sex marriage are nice, Griffin adds, but there were similar polls in California in 2008 and same-sex marriage still lost on Election Day.
"The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day. That's what matters. Right now, we see polls that have us up four points, some have us tied. Luckily none have us below," he said. "At the end of the day, we have to just hope we are able to turn out the supporters of equality."
Maryland governor Martin O'Malley addressed the fundraiser in an attempt to help supporters reach their goal of $500,000 for the night.
"Our state was founded of one of the original 13 colonies on the principle of religious freedom. And there is no freedom of religion without freedom of individual conscience, and the protection of every individual equally under the law," O'Malley said.
Maryland is one of four states where same-sex marriage is on the ballot this fall. The others are Maine, Minnesota, and Washington.