Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on Monday kicked off a video campaign to legalize gay marriage in the state.

The campaign bears a striking resemblance to New York's effort, which was coordinated by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights group, and featured prominent celebrities, professional athletes, politicians and everyday folks urging New Yorkers to support marriage equality.

In Maryland, the campaign is being organized by Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a coalition of gay rights groups and gay allies, which includes the HRC and the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP.

An effort last year to legalize the institution failed in the Maryland House of Delegates after passage in the Senate.

In the campaign's premiere 47-second video, O'Malley argues that marriage equality and religious freedoms can coexist.

“As a free and diverse people of many different faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles,” O'Malley says. “Among them, equal protection under 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.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

The campaign is an effort to build momentum on the issue now, ahead of the upcoming legislative session, which opens in January.

The campaign “will give state lawmakers the opportunity to see the depth and the diversity of support for marriage equality,” Tessa Hill-Alston, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, told The Washington Post.