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Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is preparing to announce his intention to sponsor a same-sex marriage bill next year, according to several people familiar with the planning.
O’Malley signaled the move in an interview last week, when he said he was “certainly leaning” toward sponsorship of a bill, a move that gay-rights advocates have urged.
An event has been tentatively scheduled for Friday in Baltimore, but the timing remains in flux, according to several sources, because of a recently announced visit to College Park on Friday by President Obama and the uncertainty over the federal debt-ceiling negotiations.
O’Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, is playing an increasingly vocal role on that issue. On Tuesday, Maryland was among five states with AAA bond ratings put on notice by Moody’s that its rating could be downgraded as part of the fallout.
O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory declined to comment Tuesday on any potential announcement on gay-nuptials legislation.
O’Malley had expressed support for a same-sex marriage bill that fell short during this year’s legislative session, but his lobbying efforts were limited largely to private conversations with lawmakers.
In the wake of New York’s recent embrace of same-sex marriage, gay legislators and other advocates in Maryland have been pressing O’Malley to play a far more visible role next year, including making the bill part of his formal legislative package.
“There are some bills that sometimes require a governor to push them to get them over the goal line, and it could well be true of this one,” O’Malley said last week. “All of us are going to have to work a lot harder.”
House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Mongtomery), the chief sponsor of a same-sex marriage bill that failed this year, said Tuesday that O’Malley’s support “would be the difference that would make the bill pass.”