Maryland same sex marriage prevention the task for Catholic group

Catholic group works to prevent same sex marriage in Maryland

''Preventing'' same sex marriage from being legalized in Maryland, despite the Governor's signature, is the goal for a group that held closed- door meetings all across the state Wednesday evening.

Organizers in Hyattsville are trying to put the issue on November’s ballot.

The Catholic Conference and the Maryland Family Alliance are leading the effort to get the 56,000 signatures needed to take same sex marriage to a ballot referendum.

For the first time since the civil rights movement, Jacqueline Stewart is becoming an activist—but this is a different cause.

"I believe the majority of citizens in Maryland believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Stewart, an Accokeek, Md. resident said.

Stewart is one of more than 200 volunteers trained in the last week in the protocol for collecting signatures as part of the effort to bring Maryland’s new same sex marriage law to a ballot referendum. Opponents need 56,000 signatures, but the goal is 150,000.

“I’m hoping and praying it gets on the ballot,” Stewart said.

At a Hyattsville Catholic Church, the Maryland Family Alliance and Maryland Catholic Conference are hosting what will be one of at least 25 training sessions for volunteers—most of which will be done behind closed doors.

“We put a training out within hours and all the sudden we had multiple people show up. We had almost 50 people show up to a training almost instantaneously,” said Derek McCoy of the Maryland Family Alliance.

Organizers expect the state board of elections to toss out 30 percent of the signatures they collect in person or online because of technicalities.

“Thousands are excited literally we've seen it in every place we've gone,” McCoy said.

Supporters are mounting their defense of the law—equality Maryland launched an online petition in support of the measure, but it carries no legal obligation.

“I think you're going to see where people are on this issue and they're coming out pretty strong,” McCoy said.

McCoy says they will continue training people on signature collection through Easter.