Same-Sex Marriage Tops Legislative Agenda For O’Malley

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Martin O’Malley presents his legislative agenda to the General Assembly Monday night and, as expected, it includes a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports both sides of this issue appear to have chosen the best interest of children as a focus for their arguments.

Asked how he will try to convince members of the General Assembly to pass same-sex marriage this session, Governor Martin O’Malley did not hesitate.

“I believe that all of us want the best thing for our children. We want our children to live in households that are stable and loving environments that are protected equally under the law and I am encouraging members of the House in particular to look at this issue through the eyes of children, particularly through the eyes of children whose parents are gay,” O’Malley said.

And advocates of traditional marriage also urge lawmakers to think about what’s best for children.

“Marriage exists to bring together men and women for the reproduction of the human race and keep together a man and woman to raise together the children produced by their union,” said Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council.

Maryland’s 2012 same-sex marriage debate gets underway as the governor announces its priority in his to-do list this legislative session.

“So I’m hoping that through the eyes of the children of gay and lesbian couples, we will find that common ground to protect religious freedom and rights equally under the law,” said O’Malley.

“If we were to legalize same-sex marriage, we would essentially be saying children don’t matter and mothers and fathers don’t matter,” said Sprigg.

Advocates of same-sex marriage were dealt a narrow defeat in the House of Delegates last session and both sides agree the difference this year is the governor.

“The governor and the entire sort of apparatus of the Democratic party has now thrown their entire weight behind the passage of this bill but I imagine we’ll defeat it the same way we did last year,” Sprigg said.

The governor is just as determined to see it pass.

“Ask yourself what is in their best interest. What sort of state do you want your children to live in?” O’Malley said.

Other controversial proposals this year include increases in the gas tax, an increase in the flush tax and increases in the state income tax for about 20 percent of Maryland families.

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