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Maryland Governor O'Malley Says House Still Short on Marriage Equality Votes: VIDEO

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At a rally last night before an evening of lobbying lawmakers, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley told marriage equality supporters they still need a few votes in the House to pass the measure.

The AP reports:

Gov. Martin O’Malley, who spoke to the crowd of hundreds, said he still needs to collect the votes of “a couple” of lawmakers in order to move the bill through the House of Delegates.

“We need a couple more votes and people always make their decisions against deadlines,” O’Malley told reporters after the rally. “The bill has been heard in the House and is likely to move.”

The governor said he didn’t want to make any presumptions about when the bill could come before the full chamber, but said he expects it could move out of committee as early as this week.

Watch a WJZ report on the rally, AFTER THE JUMP...

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As Senate Panel Prepares for Hearing on Marriage Equality Bill, Anti-Gay Activists Mobilize for Rally

Anti-gay activists are mobilizing for a rally today opposing the marriage equality bill pending in the Maryland legislature, WMAL reports:

Omalley"Voting constituents across Maryland are coming in, in vans and busses to stand for the definition of marriage in Maryland state law," Derek McCoy of the Maryland Marriage Alliance told WMAL.com. "The governor's wife called anyone who stands up against same sex marriage cowards, which I think is appalling," he said. "No one ever said gay marriage is wrong.  I'm just standing for what the current definition of marriage is," said McCoy.

Maryland First Lady Katie O'Malley said she regretted her remarks on Friday. Her husband attempted to "wmooth over raw feelings" in a speech to the Creating Change NGLTF conference in Baltimore over the weekend, the AP reports:

O’Malley, a Democrat who has made same-sex marriage legislation a priority this year, closed out his remarks at the 24th National Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality by underscoring the need for using compassionate rhetoric. The governor said it’s important not to let passionate views prompt people to use “words of hurt, rather than words of healing.”

“Laws matter, but words also matter, and if compassion and understanding and justice are what we want, then we must choose laws and we must choose words of compassion, understanding and of justice,” O’Malley said.

There is a Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on the marriage equality bill this Tuesday.

GanslerAttorney General Doug Gansler told a standing-room only crowd at a church in Frederick yesterday that he would be testifying, MetroWeekly reports:

Gansler called Maryland's current ban against same-sex marriage "unconstitutional." He then explained his reasoning for supporting equality for gay and lesbian couples. Gansler also offered his take on the nature of negative feedback from Republicans and religious leaders. And he predicted that the current marriage bill would pass but, he warned, supporters will need to make a significant effort to vote against an inevitable anti-gay referendum, saying: "That's where we're really going to need your help."


Maryland First Lady Katie O'Malley Apologizes for Labeling Marriage Equality Opponents 'Cowards'

Maryland's First Lady Katie O'Malley apologized today for remarks she made at NGLTF's 24th annual Creating change Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality on Thursday night.

KatieomalleyO'Malley was speaking about the marriage equality bill that failed to pass in Maryland last year, reportedly veering from prepared remarks to lash out at lawmakers who voted against it:

"There were some cowards that prevented it from passing."

Today, O'Malley said she "let my feelings get the better of me":

“I deeply respect that there are strongly held and differing views on marriage equality in Maryland but hope that our state’s elected officials will come together to fairly address this important issue for our families and children."


Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, LGBT Advocates Introduce Marriage Equality Bill: VIDEO

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After a breakfast meeting with LGBT advocates this morning at his residence, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley spoke to reporters about the marriage equality bill he officially introduced last night.

O'Malley stressed the religious protections in the bill:

"We have done our very best in the drafting of this bill to make very, very, very explicit the protections of religious liberty as well as the protection of rights equally under the law, and it’s my hope that that will not only allow more support in the House of Delegates but, as importantly, I hope it will allow more people throughout our state to be able to support this bill,. One does not have to be an advocate for same-sex marriage in order to support equal rights under the law.”

Watch O'Malley, Reverend Starlene Joyner Burns, President of Marylanders for Marriage Equality Ezekiel Jackson, gay couple Daryl Fields and O'Brien Banner, and Senator Richard Madaleno talk about the bill, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Governor's Introduction of Marriage Equality Bill Imminent in Maryland

Maryland governor Martin O'Malley is having breakfast with LGBT advocates tomorrow morning, after he introduces a marriage equality bill tonight, The Baltimore Sun reports:

OmalleyThe governor is expected to introduce his same-sex marriage bill this evening. He told reporters that the legislation will clarify exemptions for religious organizations that don't want to participate or honor same-sex unions.

"If there’s a difference [this year] it will probably be in regard to the respect for religious freedom and making that a little clearer in this bill," O'Malley said. He declined to elaborate.

Reports the Washington Post:

O’Malley (D) is scheduled to host a breakfast gathering of same-sex couples at Government House and then tout his legislation at a news conference afterward. Aides say O’Malley will be joined outside his residence by supportive legislators, clergy and labor leaders. Word of his plans spread as O’Malley prepared the formal release Monday night of his legislative agenda for the 90-day session that began this month.

Adds the Sun:

...In the Senate, a hearing scheduled on Jan. 31 for all bills relating to same-sex marriage in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Testimony will be limited to two hours on each side.

In the House, the bill will be jointly referred to the Judiciary and the Health and Government Affairs panels.

Out Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur recently posted a video of her speech to the floor last year.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Mizeur

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Bipartisan Campaign: Marriage Equality Argument Should Focus on Commitment, Not Rights

A bipartisan group hopes to shift the argument in efforts to legalize same-sex marriage to one of commitment, not rights, in an effort to persuade Americans undecided on the issue, USA Today reports:

OmalleyThe "Commitment Campaign," which is spearheaded by the centrist Democrat group Third Way and will be publicly launched today, has won support from Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat; Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent and former Republican; former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican; and Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Advocates have long made the case that legalizing marriage for gays and lesbians is a matter of equality, but those who frame the issue that way might be reinforcing a belief among many Americans in the middle on the issue that gays and lesbians want to marry for different reasons than straight couples, according to polling by Third Way and Grove Insight.

Read the campaign's plan, below:

 


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