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O’Malley Vows To Fight For Marriage Equality; Says Debate Must Not Be Hurtful

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Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Maryland lawmakers prepare to consider a bill to legalize same-sex marriage just as the dust settles from some controversial remarks from the governor’s wife.

Derek Valcourt has more from Governor Martin O’Malley, who spoke about the issue at a national conference on gay and lesbian issues Sunday.

O’Malley is vowing to fight hard for marriage equality, but referencing the controversial remarks from his wife, he told the audience they need to choose their words carefully.

Same-sex marriage opponents will once again pick up their signs and take their message to Annapolis Monday, promising to fight back a bill that would make Maryland the seventh state in the country allowing gays and lesbians the full legal protections of marriage.

“We’re just talking about people who love each other,” First Lady Katie O’Malley said. “They want the same rights that we all have. It’s not going to affect anybody else’s marriage.”

Some of those opponents are now energized by remarks from First Lady Katie O’Malley during a speech to a national gay and lesbian group. She called Maryland lawmakers who voted against a same-sex marriage bill last year “cowards.”

“There is outrage,” Delegate Don Dwyer, a Republican from Anne Arundel County, said.

Dwyer– a leading opponent of same-sex marriage– is among those criticizing the first lady who later apologized for her choice of words.

And Sunday morning, her husband addressing the same gay and lesbian audience, said it’s important not to let hurtful words enter the debate.

“When this occasionally happens, we must also have the humility and the strength to apologize,” Gov. O’Malley said.

He has made same-sex marriage one of his top priorities for the legislative session.

A new Washington Post poll finds support on his side. Fifty percent of Marylanders say they favor same-sex marriage but 44 percent oppose it, six percent having no opinion.

But opponents are promising a show of force and a fight to the end.

“I truly believe that this bill is not going to succeed,” Dwyer said. “It’s not going to come to the House floor.”

Those opponents are promising hundreds– if not thousands– of people will show up at their rally on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis at 6 p.m. Monday.

A Senate committee is scheduled to examine the same-sex marriage bill on Tuesday.

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