(Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

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

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

“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 re-engage.

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

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

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

Meanwhile, the Maryland Catholic Conference issued a statement saying it would work again 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.”

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