Maryland Governor Will Sign Gay Marriage Bill If He Gets One

Last March, on a radio show, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley expressed his support for advice from attorney general Doug Gansler that the state should recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and indicated the state was implementing it. 

Omalley On the same show yesterday, O'Malley went further, suggesting that he would sign a marriage equality bill should it be presented to him.

The WaPo reports:

O'Malley's remark came in response to a question from a caller on the station's "Ask the Governor" program about the future of gay marriage in Maryland.

"I don't have a crystal ball to predict how this goes," O'Malley said, "but I do know this: I know the people of our state well enough that for all of the differences and diversities of backgrounds and opinions, that all of us want to find a way to craft our laws in such a way that it treats people equally under the law."

O'Malley said he personally believes that allowing for civil unions would be the best way to reach a compromise in the legislature. But he added that "should the legislature find a way to reach that compromise in another way, I would sign a bill like that … we need to find a way to support equal rights, and that is true when it comes to committed gay and lesbian couples and the unions in which they choose to enter and raise children and all the issues that go with that."

O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec cast the governor's comments as consistent with previous statements, saying the governor had said he would sign a gay marriage bill if and when it passes.

Now the legislature just needs to make that happen.


  1. Patric says

    Governor O’Malley’s press office actually made this same statement last month, on August 9.

    As Evan Wolfson and others have reminded us, we cannot rely on federal judges to do all the heavy lifting to advance the cause of marriage equality. We must work to extend the reach of marriage equality where possible. Thanks to the efforts of Ken Mehlman & Co., we are effectively blocked for the time being from advancing legislation in States where we might otherwise have a shot, like Oregon, Colorado and Wisconsin.

    However, Rhode Island is almost certain to become No. 6 next year and the following States give us our best shot of extending the reach of marriage equality further in advance of the 2012 elections:

    Minnesota: NOM is heavily involved in this race in support of the extremely homophobic Republican nominee. The DFL (Democratic) nominee is former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton, a strong supporter of marriage equality, and donations can be made to his campaign here:

    Hawaii: Next Tuesday a Democratic primary will almost certainly determine who will replace Linda Lingle and become Hawaii’s next Governor (Lingle’s lieutenant governor is the Republican nominee and is a complete nut but he is the decided underdog against either Democrat). Tuesday’s election pits Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, a Mormon who opposes even civil unions, against longtime LGBT-ally Neil Abercrombie. The race is close, with most polls giving Rep. Abercrombie a slight advantage, but Hannemann has other advantages in terms of resources and GOTV capacities. We need to make sure all of our Hawaiian friends get out to vote for Rep. Abercrombie next week.

    Maryland: Another close race for Governor, in a tough climate for Dems. We need to help O’Malley beat back Ehrlich.

    New Mexico: Another close race for Governor. The Dem is a longtime LGBT ally. The Republican is a real wingnut.

    Illinois: Another close race for Governor. We would be in better shape had Dan Hynes, who supports marriage equality and who would have been a better general election candidate, won the primary but we’re stuck with Quinn, who has only indicated support for civil unions, against a right-wing Republican.

    Maine: We’ll lose the shot of restoring marriage equality through the legislative branches for the next four years if we lose the Governor’s race. Latest poll shows the anti-equality Republican out front against a pro-equality Dem.



  2. Brian says

    Patric, this is the most coherent run down of opportunities for marriage equality advances in the states that I have seen anywhere. Thank you! It’s a real reminder that we can’t afford to sit out any election just because we’re disillusioned with the peformance of Pres. Obama.

  3. Patric says

    You’re welcome, Brian! Since you appreciated it, I’ve included some more detail below re individual States. I agree completely that the individuals best served by members of our community sitting out this election are those in the NOM crowd, who will be out in force voting for anti-equality candidates in November. Let’s not let them win and further delay the advent of equality. We’ve got very appealing opportunities to get involved, starting next week in the Hawaii Democratic primary and continuing in November with races like those in Minnesota (especially), Maine, Maryland and New Mexico.

    rhode island (virtual certainty of success next year; house dem leader has been unsupportive in past but hard to believe she’ll block equality given broad public support, support of new gov, etc.)

    minnesota:  DFL nominee for gove, former u.s. senator mark dayton, has been an unapologetic supporter of marriage equality.  republican is of course a nutwing but the independent in the race, also a supporter of marriage equality, may help to draw votes away from the republican.  polls currently show us with a lead but it figures to be a tough race.

    hawaii (constitution only authorizes political branches to restrict marriage, which they once did, so only new legislation signed by the gov should be required to enact marriage equality)
    the dem primary for gov in hawaii next month (september) is critical in this struggle.  it pits former rep. neil abercrombie, with a record of many years of support for the LGBT community, against mormon homophobe mufi hannemann, the mayor of honolulu.  the winner will be favored in november against linda lingle’s homophobic lieutenant gov.  latest poll has rep. abercrombie maintaing a narrow lead but hannemann has more money and has the endorsement of some organizations which could help with GOTV efforts.  as such, it’s critical that progressives in hawai’i get out to vote for rep. abercrombie on september 18.

    maryland: tight race for gov in november; a rematch of 2006 race featuring maryland’s last two govs


    new mexico:  another tight race for gov, pitting a friendly dem vs. a wingnut republican (both are women and the republican is latina).  dem hasn’t come out as supporter of marriage equality but the state party has, so i think that our circumstances in new mexico look a lot like those in hawaii.

    i have not included the following states in this list for the following reasons:

    new york (unclear whether dems will even hold on to state senate and, if they do, their majority will include at least a few anti-equality members, meaning that we’d need to pick off some republican votes and, given that he’s not presently running for election, i don’t see bloomberg as willing to lobby any of those republicans to whom he’s previously donated thousands)

    new jersey:  pending court case will take some time

    maine:  note that there is a close contest in november for gov between an anti-equality republican and a pro-equality dem. recent polls have shown republican with a slight lead but it’s early.  obviously, if the republican wins we’ll have no shot of even passing legislation in the next four years, let alone withstanding a challenge at the polls.

    washington:  like maine, laws can be challenged before going into effect and, given how narrowly domestic partnerships survived nine months ago, i’m not sure that our side is ready to race back to the polls for full equality.

    pennsylvania:  likely to have anti-equality republican gov and at least one chamber of state legislature controlled by republicans.

    illinois:  probably like new mexico.  first we’d need to beat back a right-wing republican candidate in the gov’s race this november.  then, we’d have to persuade a dem gov who has previously only indicated support for civil unions to support full equality.

  4. Jess says

    I have a friend involved in Maryland politics. He’s told me that O’Malley has a close relative who is gay, so that may have influenced his decision. Never underestimate the power of simply knowing someone who is gay!

  5. B-rod says

    Having lived in MD nearly my entire life, it’s going to be a while before you see the legislature pass this, unfortunately. While Maryland has ALWAYS been solidly liberal Democratic state, it is somewhat culturally conservative…and parts of it (Eastern Shore/Western Maryland) are just as bad as Virginia.

    Still, nice to hear the Governor say this because we know for sure that his opponent, Erlich, wouldn’t support this – ever.

  6. HawaiiBill says

    Thanks for a great recap Patric and for the push for Neil Abercrombie for Governor out here on our rock in paradise!

    The primary is Sept. 18th and the anti-equality candidate saved his $$$ war chest for the end. He is blanketing the airwaves and print with smears and distractions. This has been his pattern in all of his past elections. His garbage can be countered with the truth, but Neil needs help. Anyone who has pulled their money from HRC or the DNCC and would like to help a TRUE fierce advocate, go to: and give whatever you can.

    For context, both houses passed our Civil Unions bill with large majorities, but they were not veto-proof. Which is why we ultimately lost… for now. But with the right Governor in place, Civil Unions is a given and true marriage equality is also within our grasp.

    Patric: keep up the good work. It’s nice to see some proactive comments on here instead of lectures, snark and the prodigious use of CAPS to tell us when the poster is SERIOUS.


  7. Patric says

    Thank you, HawaiiBill, on your efforts to keep people focused on the important battle next week in your beautiful State and on what we can all do NOW to help prevent November’s election for Governor of Hawai’i from being a contest between two anti-equality bigots. Thanks, also, for correcting me and pointing out that the actual day of the primary is Saturday and not Tuesday. I hope that Andy and Joe and Pam will all post on this important race next week and remind us all of what we can do to counter Hannemann’s distasteful efforts against our ally Rep. Abercrombie.

    I agree with you completely that all the whining in these comments sections gets a bit tired, when there is so much that we can all be doing right now to advance the cause of equality. First step, let’s win in Hawai’i next Saturday, then let’s turn our focus to Minnesota and other states listed above! Aloha!

  8. Gerald says

    *waves* Hey guys, I just wanted to add that Michigan could have a fighting chance to join this illustrious club of states that recognize marriage equality.

    IF-AND ONLY IF- Democratic gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero wins this November. He’s extremely gay-friendly from what little I know about him — which is really all I need to know about him. :) It’s a plus that he’s very passionate about improving his state’s economy, auto industry and job market too.

    I hope Towleroad can do a little feature on him soon — to push our Michigan brothers reading to gather votes to get him into office — and take the seat of the very-awesome Jennifer Granholm.

  9. HawaiiBill says

    @Gerald: Sorry, I wasn’t really familiar with the race in Michigan, but thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I’ll pay attention after our primary next week. Good Luck and Work Hard!

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