O'Malley announcement on gay marriage set for Friday
** Update: O'Malley will make his announcement on gay marriage Friday in Annapolis. **
Gov. Martin O'Malley said this morning that he will reveal his strategy on same-sex marriage at an event either tomorrow or Monday.
Activists have been working for months to persuade him to put his name on the controversial bill and include it in his legislative agenda. "I supported it last year," he said to colleague John Fritze. "I support it now."
The governor made his remarks in Washington, D.C. after addressing Democratic members of Congress at a closed door meeting.
O'Malley has told The Sun that he would have sponsored the bill this year if he thought it would be helpful for passage. The measure cleared the Senate this year, but was pulled from the House floor when it became clear that supporters were a few votes shy. The governor made phone calls to wavering members, but never made a full court push for the bill.
Much of the lengthy debate on the issue in Maryland centered on ensuring that churches, synagogues and other religious institutions could opt-out of performing ceremonies their faith does not condone. Supporters accepted amendments in committee and on the Senate floor to beef up that section of the bill -- making it clear that churches would not have to change their practices to accommodate gay members.
But opponents never believed the changes were sufficient -- in particular they wanted to enable religious institutions to deny gay couples services offered to the wider public, like adoptions.
Sun reporter John Fritze contributed to this blog post.