Anticipating that opponents of same-sex marriage will succeed in forcing the recently passed Maryland law allowing gay couples to wed to referendum, its supporters have hired a political veteran to lead the charge to uphold the measure.
Josh Levin, who has led congresional campaigns and served in former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, has signed up to be the new campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the group announced Wednesday. He replaces Sultan Shakir, who will become the group's political director.
The marriage equality group is the coalition that led the effort to push the marriage bill, which was supported by Gov. Martin O'Malley, through the General Assembly early this year. Opponents of the bill, including many churches, are gathering signatures to put the issue on the November ballot, where voters could invalidate the legislature's action.
The announcement of the appointment came as same-sex marriage proponents were touting the results of a poll by Hart Research suggesting that Maryland voters favor the new law by 51 percent to 43 perecent. That is a wider margin than suggested in most previous polls.