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O’Malley says same-sex marriage has ‘real shot’ at prevailing on Maryland ballot

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, center, greets supporters and members of the House of Delegates after the House passed a same-sex marriage bill this spring. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Wednesday night that the campaign to uphold Maryland’s same-sex marriage law is in “good shape” but added that his side needs to continue raising money to get its message out in the final days before the election.

In a conference call with reporters, O’Malley also praised the efforts of actor Brad Pitt, who made headlines Wednesday for pledging $100,000 in matching contributions for ballot measures in Maryland and three other states.

“We have a real shot at prevailing here,” O’Malley said during the call.

Maryland voters will be asked in Question 6 next week if they want to affirm a law legalizing gay nuptials that O’Malley signed in March. Campaigns on both sides of the issue plan big pushes in the remaining days.

A Washington Post poll last month showed likely voters leaning in favor of the measure, 52 percent to 43 percent. Most other polls have showed similar margins, though a Baltimore Sun poll released over the weekend suggested the race is a dead heat.

During the call, O’Malley dismissed that result as an “outlier.”

No state has ever affirmed same-sex marriage at the ballot box. Next week, voters in Washington state and Maine will face similar questions. In Minnesota, voters will be asked whether they want to write a ban on gay unions into the state constitution.

O’Malley said that his side needs to raise about $400,000 in Maryland in coming days to stay on budget in a race where both camps are airing frequent TV ads. A round of disclosure reports due last Friday showed Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the lead campaign group for Question 6, with less than $23,000 in the bank.

The group reported having raised $1.2 million between Oct. 8 and 21. That came on top of $3.2 million the group previously reported.

The largest contributions in the latest report came from the National Education Association, which gave $300,000, and Paul Singer, a prolific Republican donor who has supported same-sex marriage initiatives around the country. He gave $250,000.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, the lead group seeking to defeat Question 6, reported raising $846,865 during the most recent two-week period. That’s about the same that it reported having raised until that point.

The group’s largest reported donation came from the National Organization for Marriage, which gave $400,000.

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