Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on
Wednesday called on lawmakers to approve a gay marriage bill.
The measure, which O'Malley introduced
last month, had its
first public hearing on Tuesday.
In his sixth State of the State address
on Wednesday afternoon at the Maryland State House in Annapolis,
O'Malley reiterated his support for making Maryland the seventh state
to legalize gay marriage.
“The very reason our state was
founded was for religious freedom – and at the heart of religious
freedom is respect for the freedom of individual conscience,”
O'Malley told colleagues.
“The way forward, the way to sustain
and enhance our common life together, is equal respect for the
freedom of all. We all want the same thing for our children; we want
our children to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home
protected equally under the law.”
“It is not right or just that the
children of gay couples should have lesser protections than the
children of other families in our State. Nor would it be right to
force religious institutions to conduct marriages that conflict with
their own religious beliefs and teachings.”
“In Maryland, we already recognize
civil marriages performed in other states and just over our border in
the District of Columbia. It is time to join with clergy, faith-based
organizations, civil rights organizations, community leaders, and
individuals across our State to pass a civil marriage law that
protects religious freedom and civil marriage rights equally.”