Maryland will join seven states and the District in allowing same-sex marriage, ending a year-long drama in Annapolis over the legislation and expanding nationwide momentum for gay rights. The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 25 to 22 Thursday night, and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has vowed to sign it into law.
But will this turn into an election year headache for the White House?
To win some of the final votes needed for passage in the House of Delegates last week, backers agreed to conditions that could help opponents place the new law on the November ballot….[This] presents a potential dilemma for President Obama. He has been heavily courting the gay community for donations and votes in his reelection campaign but has stopped short of fully embracing marriage rights. Obama has said his views are “evolving,” a statement viewed by many supporters in that community as a strong hint that he will soon endorse the cause, perhaps if and when he is safely reelected.
Gay rights activists can be expected to pressure the president to publicly support the Maryland law in November. At the same time, however, Obama will probably be pressured by many African American leaders in Maryland to join them in opposing the measure.
If it ends up on the ballot, it will be hard for Obama to avoid taking a position. Perhaps it’s finally time for his evolution to turn into an epiphany.