O'Malley urges House to 'come together' on gay marriage legislation
Gov. Martin O'Malley said he hopes the same-sex marriage bill being considered by the legislature becomes law.
The Democratic governor took reporters' questions on same-sex marriage after testifying this afternoon in the House of Delegates on his offshore wind plan. Asked if he thought the marriage bill would pass this year, he said, "I hope so. I hope so."
His comments came as a key House committee appears stuck, with some delegates reconsidering support and Del. Jill Carter skipping the planned vote on Tuesday to draw attention to other issues. There were no immediate plans to take the vote today; Carter, a Baltimore Democrat, is out sick.
"I hope the House comes together and passes this bill," O'Malley said. He noted that even if the General Assembly approves the plan, voters will likely decide its fate because it can be petitioned to appear on the 2012 ballot.
"We should let the people decide," he said.
The legislation does not require religious bodies to participate in same-sex ceremonies, but it would provide for the state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples by repealing the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
O'Malley said he thinks the bill "strikes the right balance" between the rights of gay couples and the concerns of religious institutions.
By a vote of 25-21, the Senate approved the bill last week. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on it Friday but a planned vote Tuesday was derailed by delegates who suddenly decided to withhold support for various reasons.
Annie Linskey talked to O'Malley for this post.