WASHINGTON -- The same-sex marriage issue will be facing lawmakers and voters in several states this year.
Democratic-controlled legislatures in Washington state, Maryland and New Jersey are considering legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage, while Maine voters will vote on a same-sex marriage referendum in November.
Voters in North Carolina and Minnesota will consider constitutional amendments defining marriage as between a man and a woman. In New Hampshire, the Republican-controlled legislature is gearing up to vote on a bill that could reverse that state's same-sex marriage law.
Maryland Gov. Martin J. O'Malley, a Catholic, is sponsoring legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. If it passes Maryland will be the seventh state, plus the District of Columbia, to allow same-sex marriages.
Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state's bishops, said same-sex marriage is being pushed by a small group of advocates.