North College Park (District 1) council member Patrick Wojahn wants to see gay marriage bill a priority of Gov. O’Malley administration in 2012.
Council member Wojahn is the Chairman of Equality Maryland, Maryland’s largest LGBT (lesbian, gay bi-sexual and trans gender) community group.
Mr. Wojahn’s comments came a day before last Friday, when Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says his office will work harder to get a same-sex marriage bill passed. .
Earlier this year, the bill passed the Senate before dying in the House, after at least two House Democrats withdrew their support and party leaders appeared unable to gain the 71 votes needed for passage. Leaders estimated at the time they had about 68 firm supporters. Gay Marriage supporters in College Park lobbied heavily to help pass the bill in Senate.
Mr. O’Malley — who before becoming governor said he favored civil unions and believed marriage was intended for a man and woman — said Friday his views have evolved beyond those initially instilled by his Catholic upbringing.
Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, said her organization greeted the governor’s announcement with “great disappointment” and said the group would lobby against such a bill.
“We continue to urge members of the Maryland General Assembly not to allow this issue to be driven by partisan politics, and to give full and fair consideration to the legitimate reasons why our state should maintain its recognition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” she said according to the Washington Times.
A group of 35 Maryland clergy members expressed disappointment with the governor’s decision. They pointed out that Maryland voters would have a chance to petition any bill that passes to referendum in November 2012, as opponents of unrelated legislation to allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants have done.
“We’re ready for the fight and have no doubt that marriage will remain between one man and one woman,” the group said.
State Sen. Nancy Jacobs, the Senate minority leader, said she believes the majority of state residents oppose same-sex marriage.
“I oppose legalizing gay marriage in Maryland and will fight vehemently against Governor O’Malley’s initiative to pass this legislation,” Jacobs, R-Harford, said in a statement.