O'Malley raises money for same-sex marriage campaign
Gov. Martin O'Malley urged supporters of same-sex marriage to "call on the goodness" of their opponents as they try to gain more votes in the General Assembly and more allies throughout the state.
Speaking at an Equality Maryland fundraiser in Chevy Chase last night, the governor said that the issue should be viewed from the eyes of the children of same-sex couples. He said children across the state should grow up in households governed by the same sets of laws.
"It is through their eyes, the eyes of the children of gay and lesbian couples, that I have viewed this issue," O'Malley said. "This is all about the protection of families."
"Even people who do not yet agree with us on this issue, there is a lot of goodness in each and every individual and we need to engage in that goodness," O'Malley said. "We need to call people to that goodness."
The governor gave a far more impassioned plea for the bill during the fundraiser than he did two months ago at a Friday afternoon news conference when he announced that he would put his name on a same-sex marriage bill. This time several in the audience complimented his speech and he earned two rounds of applause when he finished.
* Photo credit: Governor's press office
So many members of the General Assembly attended that one speaker joked that the group might have enough votes in the room to pass the bill. Last year the controversial measure passed in the Senate but vote counters in the House believed they were a few votes shy and pulled it from the floor.
Also speaking at last night's event were Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Douglas Gansler -- two possible gubernatorial candidates in 2014. They both sounded optimistic that the bill would pass next session, and both looked ahead to the next hurdle: A statewide referendum on the legislation.
(Two other possible gubernatorial contenders were invited but did not come. Comptroller Peter Franchot was out of town, though his chief of staff attended. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman was not there.)
The 2012 ballot is now set to include a question on whether illegal immigrants should receive college tuition discounts that are available to legal residents. And most believe that should same-sex marriage pass in Maryland, it would be quickly petitioned to the ballot for voters to decide.
Gansler even took it a step further, predicting that if the issue lost at the ballot box, it could re-emerge as a legal fight if a gay couple tried to challenge the current law. Same-sex marriage advocates already tried to do that, but were rebuffed by Maryland's highest court.
Brown weighed in too, saying that there will be "a coalition-driven effort targeted in every county" to convince voters to support the legislation on the ballot. "The effort in 2012 will require a lot of hard work," he said. "It will require a lot of us to redouble our efforts."
The event was held at a no-frills community center and guests enjoyed wine and cheese and looked photos from supporters' marriage ceremonies. The only extravagance was the dessert: A multi-layered white wedding cake.
* Photo credit for cake: Annie Linskey