Democrats eyeing Md. governorship eagerly share their support for gay marriage rulings


Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler. (Photo by Susan Biddle/The Washington Post)

Democrats jockeying to succeed Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley were quick to weigh in Wednesday on the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on same-sex marriage — and were hardly shy about sharing their roles in the fight for gay rights.

In statements issued by their offices, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) all lauded the rulings that struck down a key section the federal Defense of Marriage Act and will effectively allow same-sex couples to resume getting married in California.

Maryland lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage last year, and the new law survived a challenge at the ballot box in the fall. Gay couples have been able to wed in the Free State since Jan. 1.

Gansler, who plans to formally kick off his 2014 gubernatorial bid in September, noted in his statement that, as attorney general, he had issued an opinion in 2010 authorizing Maryland to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

“That push for equality led to calls for my impeachment, but I knew it was the right — and constitutional — thing to do,” Gansler said.

He also noted that he had been the first statewide elected official in Maryland to testify in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage and that he joined other state attorneys general in filing a brief with the Supreme Court calling for California’s Proposition 8 to be struck down.

Mizeur, who plans to formally kick off her gubernatorial campaign this summer, spoke of her own same-sex relationship in her statement. She said that she married her wife, Deborah, in a symbolic ceremony on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2005 and then in a legal ceremony in 2008 — during a stretch when gay nuptials were allowed in California.

Mizeur’s statement also said that she and her wife “were at the forefront of Maryland’s fight for equality.”

“Today, we celebrate, and tomorrow we get right back to work defending the rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters in the 38 states where they are not permitted to marry, and where they will continue to experience inequality,” Mizeur said.

Brown, who launched his campaign for governor in May, offered the most succinct statement of the three Democrats, saying that the Supreme Court “stood on the right side of history by advancing the cause of equality and justice for all Americans.”

“By first passing and then upholding marriage equality on the ballot, Marylanders should be proud of the important role we played together in the fight for equal rights,” Brown said.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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