Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has introduced legislation in the Maryland General Assembly that would provide marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in the Old Line State.
O’Malley first committed to achieving marriage equality in the state in summer of last year. His introduction of the bill came on the heels of a survey commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign, which found that marriage equality is supported by 51 percent of Maryland residents. Much like last year’s ultimately successful legislation in New York, O’Malley’s bill includes provisions exempting religious leaders from compliance. “Other states have found a way to do this,” O’Malley said of the exemptions. “We can find a way to do this, too. And that common ground that allows us to move forward is dignity. The human dignity of every single person.”
Supporters of the bill have launched a PR campaign, designed in large part to appeal to Maryland’s substantial African-American population; the group Marylanders for Marriage Equality has recorded PSAs featuring Oscar-winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique, former NAACP chairman Julian Bond and actor Michael K. Williams, best known for his role as Omar Little on HBO’s “The Wire”.
An earlier marriage equality bill passed the Maryland Senate in summer of last year, but supporters in the House of Delegates were unable to marshal the votes to pass it. Senate President Mike Miller (D) has announced his intent to bring the bill to the floor early in the legislative session.