Gay marriage in Maryland: A state divided (+video)
Advocates of gay marriage in Maryland equate it to interracial marriage, which was also illegal at one time. While some voters have been convinced, others are not so easily won over.
Ezekiel Jackson is black and his wife is white. As Jackson campaigns to legalize gay marriage in Maryland, he likens the plight of same-sex couples to that of interracial couples, who were banned from marrying in the state until 1967.Skip to next paragraph
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Maryland was one of the last US states to allow blacks and whites to marry, but on Tuesday it could become one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote. Voters in Maine and Washington are also heading to the polls to decide whether to let gays and lesbians wed.
Six US states and the District of Columbia already allow gay marriage, but the decisions were made by court rulings and legislative action.
"I couldn't help but make that comparison," said Jackson, an organizer with the Service Employees International Union and the head of Marylanders for Marriage Equality.
Black voters have traditionally been reliable foes of same-sex marriage. In Maryland, Emmett Burns, a prominent black pastor, has been a leading opponent of the referendum and says it is insulting to African Americans to describe marriage as a civil rights issue.