By John Wagner, The Washington Post
A widely anticipated referendum on same-sex marriage in Maryland appeared a certainty Thursday, as an unofficial count of validated signatures submitted by opponents exceeded the required number.
As of late Thursday afternoon, 70,039 signatures had been validated by local elections officials, exceeding the 55,736 required to put the measure on the ballot, according to an ongoing â€œunofficialâ€ tally on the Maryland State Board of Elections Web site.
State Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone said the statewide count has not yet been certified but that it â€œwill probably go upâ€ by the time that happens.
If the numbers hold, Maryland voters will be asked in November if they want to uphold a law passed this year that allows gay nuptials. The measure, which was signed by Gov. Martin Oâ€™Malley (D) in March, narrowly passed the House of Delegates after falling short in that chamber the year before.
No state has ever approved a ballot measure allowing same-sex marriage, and both sides have been gearing up for months for the fight in Maryland.
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