We have government by plebiscite in Maryland.

Concerning the discussion of referendum(s) on the Dream Act and marriage equality in your Jan. 1 editorial, "The year ahead," readers need to understand that the moment a law is petitioned to referendum, it is effectively vetoed. When the law is petitioned, its opponents have won. The law may not go into effect until after the referendum.

So it does not matter who you vote for or what the representatives duly elected by the majority of voters pass or what the elected governor signs; a small minority can kill the bill, at least until the next election can include the referendum, and then the duly passed law can take effect only if it wins a majority in a vote dominated by the passionate few and those propagandized by outside interest groups.

We have a very angry Republican minority that feels frustrated that the majority of Maryland citizens disagree with them, as typified by the bitterness evident in former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s book. I expect that not merely the Dream Act and gay marriage but every non-revenue bill will be blocked by being petitioned to referendum once the minority realizes the power of on-line petitioning, boosted by Facebook and Twitter.

James Kelly, Ellicott City