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Tuition Equity and Marriage Equality Laws Lead in Maryland

On Election Day, Maryland voters will determine the fate of two landmark laws that their legislature passed over the past two years: tuition equity for undocumented immigrants and the legalization of same-sex marriage. Both laws were challenged by opponents seeking their repeal at the ballot box this fall — but according to a new poll released this week, both show strong chances of surviving.

According to the poll (conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies), Maryland's marriage equality law wins the backing of 51 percent of registered voters in the state, with 43 percent opposed. Maryland is not the only state in which marriage will be on the ballot fall — Maine, Washington, and Minnesota voters will also decide the fate of same-sex marriage. With 32 states having voted against same-sex marriage since 1998, Maryland shows a strong chance of becoming the first state to ever support marriage equality at the polls.

Even more striking is the 58 percent majority of Maryland voters in this new poll who support their state's in-state tuition law (or state Dream Act), compared to only 34 percent who say they are opposed. As Progressive States Network has previously highlighted, tuition equity laws are already on the books in twelve states (including Maryland), with momentum in many other states continuing to build, especially in the wake of the Obama administration's directive this summer to defer action on deportations for some DREAM-eligible young people. With the outlook for the DREAM Act in the next Congress murky at best, the number of states looking at tutition equity legislation in 2013 is also growing, and includes Colorado, Oregon, Florida, Ohio, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Delaware.

From measures advancing progressive taxation to taking on Citizens United and more, voters in states across the nation will be deciding on some critical issues at the ballot box in November. But by approving these two landmark progressive achievements, Maryland voters may end up sending one of the strongest messages to the nation about the promise and political viability of bold progressive state legislation.