"I'm extraordinarily hopeful" that Question 6 will pass, Kelber-Kaye said.

The issue is also personal for the roughly 10 percent of 200 households in the congregation that have at least one gay family member, Franken said.

The phone bank volunteers were gung ho as they started.

"I am not afraid," said congregant Gayle Hefner, of Towson.

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"This is an issue I think is important," said Caroline Kaufman, 14, of Guilford, a freshman at the Bryn Mawr School in Roland Park. "I don't understand how someone else's marriage is anybody's business.

But the phone banking effort proved to be slow-going as volunteers made calls around dinner time, working from lists of what Levin called "persuadable" voters in Baltimore County. Also, the phone banking was planned before the Baltimore Orioles made the playoffs, and an Orioles-New York Yankees game was coming on that evening.

"We didn't know that was going to happen," Kelber-Kaye said.

Many of the volunteers early on either got no answer or an answering machine, or in Krevor-Weisbaum's case, a click on the other end of the line. But Marion Ehrlich, of Roland Park, finally got a man on the line.

The man listened to Ehrlich's introduction and then she asked him whether he was for or against Question 6.

"Against," he said, which ended the conversation.

But phone bankers were undeterred and said Maryland is overdue for same sex-marriage rights.

"I really think it's time," said Krevor-Weisbaum, an attorney, who has been married for 32 years. "There are so many gay and lesbian couples that want the same rights I have."