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Opinion

Examiner Local Editorial: On Maryland referenda, just say 'no'

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Opinion,Local Editorial

On Election Day, Maryland citizens will have the rare opportunity to overturn three controversial measures passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley. The right to referendum, enshrined in the Maryland Constitution, gives the people the final say in such disputes. We applaud MDPetitions.com, whose hard work collecting online signatures has given Maryland citizens the ability to check the excesses of one-party rule in Annapolis. Voters should take full advantage of their power.

The Washington Examiner recommends voting against ballot Questions 4, 5 and 6.

Question 4: Public Institutions of Higher Education -- Tuition Rates

The so-called Dream Act (not to be confused with a federal immigration proposal by the same name) offers in-state college tuition rates to the children of illegal immigrants brought to this country as children, but who nonetheless cannot legally live or work here. This is a benefit for which Americans for other states are not eligible, which probably makes it illegal under federal law. More than 100,000 Maryland taxpayers signed the petition that successfully blocked the law from going into effect.

Question 5: Congressional Districting Plan

The "Marymander" -- the state's newly redrawn congressional district map -- is a perfect example of the dark political art of partisan gerrymandering. The lopsided and absurdly shaped districts in the new map have been aptly compared with "blood spatter at a crime scene." This was the price of drawing Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R, out of office. But the map is also opposed by Democrats in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, who rightly object to lumping longtime constituents with voters as far away as the Maryland Panhandle and the Eastern Shore. This map represents a raw power play that makes a travesty of the electoral process.

Question 6: Civil Marriage Protection Act

As wealthy taxpayers fled Maryland to escape 24 new taxes, Gov. O'Malley made gay marriage the centerpiece of his legislative agenda. The measure is a divisive one in the state, which, in 1973, became the first to legally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples already enjoy equal protection under Maryland law, and far less intrusive legal guarantees of that protection (such as a civil union laws) have long been available. There was no need for the state legislature to intervene and redefine an age-old institution with so much religious and cultural significance, apparently for the sake of boosting O'Malley's future presidential hopes.

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