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Poll shows majority favor same-sex marriage in Maryland

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By CNN Political Unit

(CNN) – A majority of likely voters in Maryland support an upcoming ballot question on same-sex marriage by a slight majority, a poll released Thursday indicated.

The survey, from the Washington Post, showed 52% of likely voters in the state supported Question 6, which would uphold Maryland’s current same-sex marriage law. Forty three percent did not support the question.

Maryland residents are scheduled to cast ballots in November on Question 6, voting either to uphold or strike down a bill legalizing same-sex marriage that was signed into law in March by Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat.

With the law, Maryland joined seven states and Washington, D.C., in allowing gay couples to wed, but it isn’t scheduled to take effect until January 1, giving both its opponents and advocates a chance to ratchet up campaign efforts to sway voters.

Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s billionaire three-term mayor who attended college at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, donated $250,000 to support the issue in Maryland.

Currently, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In February, Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill into law that legalizes same-sex marriage, but that state similarly faces a referendum challenge in November.

Both Maine and Minnesota are also voting on the issue November 6.

Five states — Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island — currently allow civil unions that provide rights similar to marriage.

In California, a federal appeals court ruled against a voter-passed referendum that outlawed same-sex marriage. It said such a ban was unconstitutional and that it singled out gays and lesbians for discrimination.

That case appears to be eventually headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Washington Post poll released Thursday was conducted by telephone October 11-15 from 843 likely voters, and the sampling error was plus or minus four percentage points.

CNN’s David Arisoto contributed to this report.

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