“We’re moving forward to a country where we treat everybody fairly and everybody equally, with dignity and respect. And here in Maryland, thanks to the leadership of committed citizens and Gov. O’Malley, you have a chance to reaffirm that principle in the voting booth in November. It’s the right thing to do.”

– President Barack Obama, during a campaign fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore

Now that he’s out of the closet in favor of marriage equality (with the big caveat that he still believes in the right of states to decide whether to discriminate), the President urged that voters  in Maryland to uphold its marriage equality law, which will likely be tested on the ballot this fall. Washington Blade:

Obama’s comments come less than a month after the Maryland Marriage Alliance submitted 113,000 signatures – more than double the 55,736 signatures they needed to collect by the end of the month to put the same-sex marriage law on the ballot. An unofficial count posted to the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website on Tuesday shows that officials have validated 109,317 of the 113,000 signatures.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted after Obama publicly endorsed marriage rights for same-sex couples during an interview with ABC News last month showed that his support of nuptials for gays and lesbians has had a significant impact on public opinion among African Americans on the issue. The poll found that 59 percent of black respondents said they support marriage rights for same-sex couples — an 18-point increase from surveys that had been taken before the president backed the issue.