June 11, 2012 at 11:46 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Marylanders for Marriage Equality opens offices, adds staff
Marylanders for Marriage Equality, gay news, gay politics dc, same-sex marriage, gay marriage

Marylanders for Marriage Equality. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The group opposing Maryland’s likely same-sex marriage referendum announced on Thursday that it has expanded its campaign infrastructure.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality announced that it has opened two campaign offices — in Baltimore and Silver Spring — and plans to have several others across the state. The group said that it has hired 12 staffers who will recruit volunteers and speak with voters throughout Maryland. Marylanders for Marriage Equality has also hired Chris Macneil as its field director and Rachael Stern as the new media director.

The organization has also promoted Manley Calhoun to deputy field director.

“We’re at a very good place right now,” said Josh Levin, campaign director for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. “We still have a lot of work to do and a long way until November but the momentum is clearly with us. The smart, strategic work of the campaign staff, coalition partners, legislators and governor is paying off.”

This announcement coincides with a Washington Post report that indicates referendum supporters have collected enough signatures to prompt a November vote on the same-sex marriage law that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in March.

An unofficial count on the State Board of Elections’ website late Thursday shows that officials have validated 70,039 of the roughly 113,000 signatures that the Maryland Marriage Alliance submitted on May 29. Referendum supporters needed to collect 55,736 signatures by the end of this month to put the same-sex marriage law on the ballot.

Meanwhile, a May Public Policy Polling survey found that 57 percent of Maryland voters would support marriage rights for same-sex couples in the referendum. The same poll found that 55 percent of the state’s black voters back nuptials for gays and lesbians.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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