O’Malley weighs move on gay marriage bill

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is weighing whether to sponsor a same-sex marriage bill during next year’s legislative session and is likely to make a decision soon, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Supporters of the measure, which fell short in this year’s session, have been pushing O’Malley (D) to play a more visible role next year in the wake of the passage of a gay-nuptials bill in New York, where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) played an instrumental role.

O’Malley has had recent discussions with lawmakers who would like him to make a bill part of his formal legislative package next year, spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said.

“It’s definitely an option that’s on the table,” Guillory said. “We are in discussions as to what steps we might take next. . . . We’re looking at all options to ensure success.”

During this year’s session, O’Malley expressed support for the bill, but his lobbying efforts were largely limited to private conversations with lawmakers. He made no mention of the legislation in his agenda-setting State of the State speech.

Guillory’s comments came on a day when both sides of the same-sex marriage debate started to reengage.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a new coalition, launched its campaign to pass a bill next year with a news conference outside City Hall in Baltimore.

A dozen lawmakers were joined at the event by representatives of state and national gay-rights groups, labor unions and other liberal-leaning groups, and some clergy.

“We support working families, not certain families,” said Ezekiel Jackson of the Maryland/D.C. division of 1199SEIU, a health-care workers’ union.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Catholic Conference issued a statement saying it would again work to oppose a same-sex marriage bill next year.

“Maryland is not New York,” the statement said. “During the 2011 session, Maryland lawmakers chose not to redefine marriage because they listened to their Maryland constituents and stood by their deeply-held moral convictions.”

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