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Maryland's governor signed a gay marriage bill into law Thursday, but the likelihood of a statewide referendum on gay marriage remains high. When the Maryland Senate approved the measure last week, opponents had already started planning to get signatures to put the issue on the ballot. And The Associated Press reported before the signing Thursday that pastors in predominantly black churches have already begun to encourage support for the referendum from the pulpit. Maryland has a large African-American population, so if that influence gains a foothold, it could give the referendum weight. For now though, Maryland is the 8th state to allow same-sex partners to marry. Barring an overturning of the law, marriages will begin January 2013.

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