FREDERICK, MD - Maryland voters will decide in November whether to overturn the general assembly's decision to legalize same sex marriage.
20-year-old Austin Beach has big plans for his future.
"As a gay male, I want to get married in the future," Beach said. "I want to be able to have children, and I want to be able to support them and provide them with the best environment that I possibly can. I want to be able to make a lifetime commitment with a partner."
Beach is a sophomore at Frederick Community College and wants to become a lawyer. He started the Frederick LGBTQ Community Center and was recently invited to the White House for his work as a gay advocate.
Beach would like to wear a ring some day when he's engaged to his future husband, but he may not get to cross that bridge in Maryland. Voters will get to make the final call on the ballot.
"Same sex marriage was a huge controversy in 2011. They didn't have the votes. They got turned down. We came back in 2012, and the governor pushed it. He twisted arms, broke arms behind the scenes, and did everything he could to get that passed, which he did," said Del. Neil Parrott, (R) - Washington County.
Parrott is chairman of www.mdpetitions.com and organized a referendum drive, along with the Maryland Marriage Alliance. More than 150,000 people signed the petition to reverse decision to allow same sex marriage.
"By changing the definition of marriage, we're going to change the policy in the schools, and we're going to see a lot of further ramifications," Parrott said. "Even people who take photographs at weddings, they're going to get sued successfully if they decide not to go to a same sex wedding ceremony, even if it violates their religious views."
"There are religious denominations that support marriage equality, and people who are LGBT and are looking to get married are not non-religious people," Beach said. "There's a number of them, especially in Frederick, that are of deeply-held spiritual and faith beliefs."
The referendum will appear as question six on the ballot. It will read:
(Ch. 2 of the 2012 Legislative Session)
Civil Marriage Protection Act
Establishes that Maryland's civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.
For the Referred Law
Against the Referred Law"
Wednesday in part three of WHAG's five-part series, we'll show you the referendum against giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.