Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has recorded a video in support of marriage equality ahead of a renewed push to legalize same-sex marriage during Maryland’s coming legislative session.
O’Malley announced over the summer that, perhaps modelling himself on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, he would be taking a more prominent role in helping to pass marriage equality in the state. Indeed, O’Malley said at the time that he wanted to make the legislation a priority.
Below you can see a video made by Marylanders for Marriage Equality that features Governor O’Malley where he explains his reasons for championing this legislation:
In the 45-second spot O’Malley says: “As a free and diverse people of many different faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles, among them, equal protection of the law for every individual and the free exercise of religion without government intervention. The legislation we plan to introduce in the 2012 legislative session will protect religious freedom and equality of marital rights under the law.”
Indeed religious support for the legislation will be important. While there may be enough support in the Legislature to get this bill through, such action would require O’Malley to highlight that the legislation will fulfill the need for equality but also clear that the legislation carries religious exemptions and in no way forces faith groups to accept same-sex marriage.
In addition to this, a new Gonzalez Research and Marketing Strategies poll suggests that currently 48% of Marylanders favor a law allowing same-sex marriages, while 49% of that population are against allowing same-sex marriages. Public support will be critical because, should the legislation pass, one can expect marriage equality opponents to push for a referendum.
In particular, support among Maryland’s sizable African American community, about 30% of the population, will be crucial. According to the Gonzalez poll currently only 41 percent of African-American respondents said they favored same-sex marriage while 59% said they were against.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality enjoys the support of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP and several prominent religious organizations in the state so, while there is work to be done, it does seem that majority support is within reach.
Strong leadership from Governor O’Malley can only help with this.
Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Jeff Belmonte.