Legalizing same-sex marriage, abolishing the death penalty and raising the minimum wage are part of today’s “work of justice,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Wednesday at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington.
O’Malley, who appeared early in a long program of speakers praising the work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., used his remarks to make the case for a modern “calling of conscience to action.”
“The responsibility we consecrate today is not rooted in nostalgia or memory, it is rooted in something far deeper,” the governor said from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, in remarks aides said he largely crafted himself.
O’Malley urged “actions to protect every individual’s right to vote, action that safeguards and keeps guns out of the hands of violent offenders, action that makes quality education and the opportunity of college a reality for more families.”
The governor, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, also called for “action that protects the dignity of every child’s home with civil marriage equality, action that strengthens our country with the hopes and dreams and hard work of our newest generation of new American immigrants, action that abolishes the death penalty and improves public safety in every neighborhood regardless of income or color, action that creates jobs and raises the minium wage for every mom and dad that’s willing to work hard and play by the rules.”
Many of those policies have been undertaken in Maryland during O’Malley’s tenure, which began in 2007.
At O’Malley’s urging, the legislature legalized same-sex marriage last year, and it passed legislation this year abolishing the death penalty and imposing strict new controls on gun purchases.
O’Malley is considering sponsoring legislation next year — his final as governor — to raise the minimum wage in Maryland.
After the speech, the governor appeared on “Politics Nation,” the MSNBC show hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton. He sought to make the case that Maryland is among the states striving toward justice, citing efforts to increase minority contracting goals and close the achievement gap in public schools.