U.S. Rep. Barney Frank said Wednesday night that one place President Obama's change of position to open support of same-sex marriage could have a significant impact is Maryland.
Frank, a Massachusett Democrat who is perhaps the nation's best-known openly gay elected official, said on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show that Obama's stand could be important in the state because the issue of same-sex marriage bill is expected to be a referendum question on the ballot in November.
The Maryland General Assembly passed Gov. Martin O'Malley's bill extending civil marriage rights to same-sex couples in March, but opponents are expected to collect enough signatures to force a referendum.
Frank noted that Obama's former position -- favoring civil unions but opposing same-sex marriage -- was used by opponents in 2008 in their succesful effort of reject gay marriage at the polls in California in 2008. Now, Frank said, opponents will be unable to use Obama's words against same-sex marriage in Maryland.
Polls have shown that African-Americans, Obama's most loyal constituency, are less supportive of same-sex marriage rights than white voters. In Maryland, with one of the highest perentages of black voters in the country, the views of African-Americans could be especially pivotal.
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