Earlier this week, a handful of LGBT organizations launched a new effort to bring marriage equality to Maryland modeled after New York’s successful coalition and now Governor Martin O’Malley (D) is also considering supporting legislation to legalize same-sex marriage next year:
O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said O’Malley has had recent discussion with lawmakers who would like him to make a same-sex marriage bill part of his formal legislative package next year.
“It’s definitely an option that’s on the table,” Guillory said. “We are in discussions as to what steps we might take next. . . . We’re looking at all options to ensure success.”
Advocates were optimistic about the success of the legislation this year, but the effort fizzled partly because O’Malley’s support for the measure was largely contained “to private conversations with lawmakers. He made no mention of the legislation in his agenda-setting State of the State speech.” Supporters also “failed to mount the kind of vigorous, multimillion-dollar grass-roots campaign that their allies in New York ran this spring” or build greater support within minority communities. “We all started running toward getting a bill passed without building a campaign in advance,” said Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D), a leading advocate of the legislation. This time, she said, “we’ll be running a very aggressive campaign that targets specific districts and regions where we need to shore up our vote count.” The measure passed the Senate but died in the House without a final vote.
Interestingly, after the bill was withdrawn, O’Malley suggested that the question should have been put to a vote. “I would have hoped that we could have resolved this issue and then let the people decide,” he said. “I think an issue like this was bound to go before the people in a referendum, and I would have hoped that we would have been able to have accomplished that today.”
The new campaign for same-sex marriage will include Equality Maryland, Progressive Maryland, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, Service Employees International Union, among others.