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Maryland Politics
Posted at 04:23 PM ET, 01/23/2012

O’Malley prepares to push same-sex marriage, other priorities

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday plans his most public display of support for a same-sex marriage bill since his announcement in July that he would sponsor the legislation this session.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) addresses the House of Delegates on the opening day of the 2012 legislative session in Annapolis. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
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.

A same-sex marriage bill cleared the Senate last year but fell short in the House of Delegates. In a bid to attract more support, O’Malley’s bill will include more explicit protections for religious organizations opposed to gay nuptials, aides indicated.

O’Malley has already started promoting most bills that he will sponsor this year, but several details have yet to be made public.

O’Malley, for example, has said he wants to raise more revenue from the state’s so-called “flush tax” to continue upgrading sewage plants. The fee is now a flat $2.50 a month. O’Malley has said he wants to make it based on consumption instead. Those details are still to come.

The legislative package O’Malley releases will also include bills to jump-start the state’s wind-power industry and to curb use of septic systems.

Several of the governor’s other priorities for the session were included in the budget proposal he released last week, including shifting part of the burden for paying teacher’s pensions from the state to counties and raising income taxes on high earners.

O’Malley is still crafting a transportation plan, with a likely increase in the gas tax. But aides indicated that that will not be ready by Monday night.

By  |  04:23 PM ET, 01/23/2012

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