Havre de Grace City Councilman Joe Smith made public his views about Question 6, the referendum vote on Maryland's same-sex marriage law, at Monday's council meeting.
One of several issues up for referendum on Nov. 6, Question 6 asks voters whether to uphold the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which gives same-sex couples the ability to obtain marriage licenses. It also protects the rights of religious bodies to choose whether to recognize these unions.
It has a "direct effect on the residents of Havre de Grace," Smith said during the Oct. 15 meeting in City Hall.
Smith, who has been in a relationship with another man for more than two decades, noted the economic impact of preventing same-sex couples from being able to marry in the state and also the tax disparities it presents.
Same-sex couples, he said, "simply want to live their lives together knowing that they have ... protection under the law."
Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the Civil Marriage Protection Act into law in March and it is slated to take effect in 2013. However, opponents of the law submitted enough signatures to take the issue to referendum in November's election, The Baltimore Sun reported.
"For the numerous same-sex couples residing in Havre de Grace and in Maryland, it's a matter of love, it's a matter of fairness," Smith said at the Oct. 15 council meeting in Havre de Grace.
There are 12,197 same-sex households in Maryland, according to the 2010 Census.
Maryland is one of four states where same-sex marriage is on the ballot this year. Maine, Minnesota and Washington are also putting the issue of same-sex marriage in the hands of voters.
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