By Tom McParland
Capital News Service
Gov. Martin O’Malley said earlier this week on MSNBC that he hopes a federal appeals court decision repealing a California ban on same-sex marriage “will have a persuasive influence on those delegates who are still open-minded” in Maryland.
But Carroll County Delegates Justin Ready and Donald Elliott told Patch this week that they want the state to continue to recognize marriage as being between a man and a woman.
"I support preserving the definition of marriage as it is currently, one man and one woman,” Ready said in an email to Patch. “I have nothing against people who want to share their lives together, but the institution of marriage is unique in human history. I believe we have a vested interest in encouraging marriage, between one man and one woman, as the way to promote strong families and birth of children."
Elliott is against same-sex marriage, and has co-signed HB 474, which proposes an amendment to the Maryland Constitution that would establish marriage between a man and a woman as the only domestic legal union valid or recognized in the state.
Last year, O’Malley said he would sign same-sex marriage legislation if it reached his desk, but he did not take the lead on the issue as he has this year by speaking in public and testifying before the General Assembly.
The governor said he does not believe same-sex marriage needs to go to a referendum.
“Do I think that it should? I don’t think it needs to,” O’Malley said at an appearance in Baltimore with his father-in-law, former Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr.
But some delegates have said they would only support a same-sex marriage bill that includes a provision sending the issue straight to voters in November.
“I have consistently stated that I would only support this bill if it is a referendum bill,” said Delegate Aisha Braveboy, D-Prince George’s, and first vice chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.
The governor released a statement on the court ruling announced in San Francisco, saying it is evidence that “the principles of equal protection under the law and of equal respect for the freedom of all will prevail.”
The Civil Marriage Protection Act seeks to undo a 39-year-old law that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.
That bill passed with an overwhelming majority in both the House and the Senate in 1973.
“Things do change,” said Curran, who chaired the Senate committee to which that bill was assigned, echoing O’Malley’s sentiments.
Patch local editor Kym Byrnes contributed to this story.