Martin O'Malley says gay marriage will stay in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley says he remains confident that Maryland voters will allow gay marriage if it comes to a referendum, despite North Carolina voters' approval of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.

The Democratic governor signed a bill in March allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed. It's scheduled to take effect in January, but opponents are collecting signatures for a possible November referendum.

O'Malley said Wednesday that in the past Maryland voters have generally chosen to "expand rights more fully" rather than to limit them and he believes Marylanders will move forward on the issue.

O'Malley also pointed out in a tweet after the North Carolina vote Tuesday night that Maryland is a solidly Democratic state, and that 70 percent of President Barack Obama's supporters favor gay marriage.

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