By Malissa Rogers
Governor Martin O’Malley (D) celebrated a victory for Maryland on election night; it was the first time a state approved equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples by a popular vote.
“I get choked up just thinking about that evening. I looked out over and saw my friends with their children, households headed by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents and all these people who had come together for a greater good,” O’Malley said. “It was so real to me and so moving…it was about real people with real lives”
Question 6, the marriage equality and fairness referendum in Maryland, passed with 51.9 percent of voters approving gay marriage rights. O’Malley widely supported “Yes on Six” and celebrated the victory of becoming the first state to win marriage equality at the polls.
The governor acknowledged the relationship that the LGBT community built with the NAACP and the roles played by major church leaders during the Question 6 campaign.
“We found a way to have a bigger conservation around the issue of race and marriage equality,” O’Malley said. “We rose above fear and suspicion and embraced the higher goals of human dignity and freedom. Witnessing that process was inspirational and extremely moving”
Maryland’s measure says, “Civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license.” The measure also explicitly mentions the right of clergy to refuse to wed gay and lesbian couples if it goes against their religious convictions.
In a recent interview, O’Malley, who received his bachelor’s degree from Catholic University, was asked what advice he would give to a young person struggling with their sexuality. He responded that as a father he would say, “That God doesn’t make mistakes and has made each of us in his own image. God is simply love. There should be no fear in love.”
O’Malley served as mayor of the city of Baltimore in 1999 and again in 2004. In 2006, O’Malley was elected to governor and was later reelected in 2010, winning with 56 percent of the vote. His recent achievements in office include reductions in tuition at universities and community colleges and investments of more than $1 billion into K-12 schools.
According to ABC news, O’Malley is considering the possibility of running for the 2016 presidential election.
After the victory O’Malley released a statement which read, “To Maryland’s children – please know that you and your families matter to the people of our State. Whether your parents happen to be gay or straight, Democratic, Republican or Independent, your families are equal before the eyes of the law.”