On one side there's Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, saying marriage should not be redefined. On there other, President Barack Obama, the country's first black president, says he gays should be allowed to wed.
Both sides of Question 6 unholstered their heavy-hitters today in dueling radio commercials for the final stretch of their campaigns. Early voting starts Saturday.
Political strategists believe that as many as one in four Marylanders going to the polls this year will be African-American, and each of the three ballot questions with organized campaigns are wooing black votes.
With same-sex marriage, the state's black voters are shaping up to be swing voters that could turn the outcome one way or another. Polls show that black voters are warming to the idea of same-sex marriage -- and opponents believe African-Americans will ultimately say "no" to question 6 in the voting booth.
In the opponents' radio commercial, King says that an "unholy alliance" has been formed between gay advocates and the NAACP leadership, which supports same-sex marriage. "I understand the civil rights movement," Kings says. "Marriage should not be redefined."
On the other, the commercial features two African-American woman discuss how they will vote in the upcoming election. Both say they will support Obama, but one is unsure on Question 6. Her friend has a clip of Obama's May announcement that he will support same-sex marriage saved on her phone, and plays it.
"I had hesitated on gay marriage because I thought civil unions would be sufficient," Obama said. "You know, Malia and Sasha, they've got friends whose parents are same-sex couples, it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents would be treated differently. That's the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective."