Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on
Friday announced he will sponsor a gay marriage bill in the next
regular session of the General Assembly in January.
The governor made his remarks at a 2PM
press conferences in Annapolis.
“Marylanders of all walks of life
want the same thing – for their children to live in a loving,
stable, committed home – protected under the law,” he tweeted to
his more than 8,500 followers.
“In the 2012 legislative session, I
will sponsor legislation that protects religious freedom &
equality of marital rights under the law,” he added moments later.
Gay marriage proponents launched a
renewed campaign earlier this month.
The moves come less than four months
after a marriage bill was suddenly shelved in the Maryland House
after passage in the Senate.
Backers had called on the Democratic
governor, who supported this year's bill, to take on a more visible
role in advocating for marriage equality in the state.
Last week, O'Malley said he would
strongly back the new push which is modeled after New York's
successful effort. In that campaign, Governor Andrew Cuomo played a
critical role in advocating for the law's passage. Gay and lesbian
couples in New York begin marrying on Sunday.
If approved, Maryland would become the
seventh state to legalize gay marriage. Gay couples can also marry
in the District of Columbia.