As expected, Governor O'Malley has announced his intentions to sponsor same-sex marriage legislation in Maryland.
I have been very critical of O'Malley and his lack of leadership on this issue during the 2011 legislative session. I also believe that the only reason he decided to support the bill was the active role played by Gov. Cuomo in New York when the state legislature legalized same sex marriage earlier this summer. I'll add that given the incredible success of the petition drive to place the Maryland DREAM Act on the ballot in 2012 the General Assembly may be hesitant to pass another bill that would most certainly trigger another petition drive and another ballot initiative - meaning that 2011 was really the year to get behind the bill.
But.... the bill has a far greater chance of passing with O'Malley's full and vocal support and given the controversy that this is likely to cause among Catholic and African-American religious leaders this represents a brave and bold decision by a governor who rarely takes political risks.
On behalf of all of us who are straight, but not narrow (minded) I say thank you Governor O'Malley for standing up for the simple, but essential concept of equality under the law. I stand with you and will certainly do whatever I can to support your legislation.
From O'Malley's Press Release:
"As a free and diverse people of many faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles or beliefs, among them “equal protection of the law” for every individual and the “free exercise” of religion without government intervention. In the 2012 legislative session, I will sponsor legislation that protects religious freedom and equality of marital rights under the law."