Across country, same-sex marriage initiatives will help shape elections | Blogh

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Across country, same-sex marriage initiatives will help shape elections

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 3:49 PM

This fall as voters pick between Obama and Romney, four states will vote on marriage equality as well.

Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington will all have various ballot questions on same-sex marriage

And advocates are at the ready.

On Monday, The Freedom to Marry Campaign, announced it was pouring $3 million into the effort in Washington, Minnesota and Maine for television airtime for ads and public education spots.

"We have our eye on the prize," says Evan Wolfson, a Pittsburgh native and founder and president of the campaign. "We need to grow the majority for marriage equality. We need to create a public discussion to win more states."

Same-sex couples who want to tie the knot in those states are left in limbo.

In Maryland, for example, voters will decide on whether to overturn a law approved by its legislature and Governor extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Baltimore residents Kara Petrosky and Sarah Stoermer, who got engaged on Feb. 4, the couple initially had different opinions on what to do if the law got struck down. At first, Petrosky says she wanted to wait. After all, "It's hard to put so much money for a wedding when it might not even be a wedding."

Then Stoermer presented the reality, she says, "that it will still feel like a wedding to us."

Regardless, the pair has already encountered some snags in their planning due to the state of flux. One officiant, for example, had it written in the contract he'd only perform the ceremony with a valid Maryland marriage license because the cost of a wedding differed from a cost of a commitment ceremony.

"That made Kara and I question whether or not we could sign and put down a deposit," Stoermer says. "What if we can't get a license?"

The couple plans to wed legally next year regardless -- either in Maryland, if marriage equality is upheld, or in nearby D.C. -- with a reception in Maryland. But the pair is hoping for the best.

"If the same-sex marriage bill doesn't pass, I'm going to be extremely disappointed," Stoemer says. "Marriage is not a question of gender; it is a question of commitment. The reality is that marriage at its base is a legal contract, albeit a powerful one."

"We pay all the same taxes; we obey all the same laws," she adds. "But we are not afforded the same rights ... It's a sad commentary on society."