Marriage Equality USA

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Legislation - Enacted

Civil Marriage Protection Act

Date Introduced: January 2011
Date Enacted:


  • Some of the intense debate on this bill, between openly gay lawmakers and some African-American lawmakers,highlighted the differences in the interpretation of “civil rights.”
  • Members of the legislature were subject to a great deal of lobbying by constituents with strong religious beliefs and by Roman Catholic clergy.
  • Eventually the bill was bounced back to committee on 11 March 2011, not to be reconsidered until 2012.
  • The bill was re-introduced on 23 January 2012.
  • The new version of the bill contained “religious protections/freedom” language.
  • To secure support from some lawmakers who desired to submit the law to public referendum, the bill was amended not to take effect until 1 January 2013, providing time for a ballot initiative.
  • The bill was passed and Gov. O’Malley signed it on 1 March 2012.
  • Between the time the governor signed the bill in March 2013 and when it was scheduled to take effect in January 2014, the public voted on Referendum Question 6 in November 2012 – see Ballot Initiatives Resolved below.
  • The Civil Marriage Protection Act took effect on 1 January 2013.

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