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O'Malley Seems Open to Recognizing Out-of-State Gay Marriages

During a radio show this morning, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) suggested he was open to recognizing gay marriages performed in other states -- something he hasn't said publicly before -- with several caveats.

"If a person has those rights under another state. ... I think we probably should respect those rights," O'Malley said during an appearance on WTOP radio's "Ask the Governor."

O'Malley, however, also made clear that his preference remains legalizing civil unions -- and not gay marriage -- in Maryland, and his aides labored to describe the evolving legal, legislative and political contexts in which his remarks were made.

State officials are awaiting an opinion from Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) as to whether Maryland can recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. That opinion -- requested by a state senator who is gay -- could still be weeks, if not months, away.

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said O'Malley has no intention of doing anything before Gansler's opinion is issued, saying that is the "prudent" course.

The attorney general's office in the past has issued less-formal advisory letters to lawmakers stating that Maryland cannot recognize same-sex marriages from other states, citing a state law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. But those opinions have acknowledged the law is less than clear.

Gansler has spoken out in favor of legalizing gay marriage, which has prompted some speculation that his opinion could say something different. But even with a more favorable opinion, recognizing gay marriages from other states could still require an act of the Maryland legislature or possibly an executive order by the governor. Abbruzzese said it was premature to discuss the possibility of the latter.

The governor's comments come as a District of Columbia law recognizing gay marriages performed elsewhere is set to take effect at midnight tonight. New York Gov. David A. Paterson (D) recently signed an executive order to the same effect.

While on the radio, O'Malley also said he would support a legislative effort to ban talking on cell phones while driving in Maryland. Lawmakers recently forbid drivers from writing or sending text messages but stopped short of a cell phone ban.

"The data would seem to be on your side on that score," O'Malley told a caller who cited the dangers of driving while talking on a cell phone. "I hope we're moving in that direction."

By John Wagner  |  July 6, 2009; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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It's time Maryland.

And kudos to New England and Iowa for supporting (civil) marriage.

Joe Mustich, Justice of the Peace,
Washington, Connecticut, USA

I recently officiate for 2 women from DC who came to CT to wed. So I'm glad that DC will start recognizing out-of-state marriages on Tuesday.

This summer couples are coming to CT to wed from around the country because they aren't allowed to do so in their own home states just yet.

Kudos to (civil) marriage.

Posted by: cornetmustich | July 6, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

As equality comes to this century it's great see DC and now Maryland take a lead on this matter. Sadly, Virginia will have to wait for the Feds.

Posted by: Dale8 | July 6, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The Governor has a driver so he does not have to worry about driving and talking. The rest of us need to talk on the phone during the hours we are in the car each day.

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | July 6, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Why does it take so long to do the right thing? It's gonna happen, but we have to draw it out over the years placing some famlies into dangerous circumstances. I BET It'll be the year 2099 before the last state in the union is probably forced at gunpoint to except Homosexual Marriage. Why so long. We'll just keep sitting at the back of the Bus waiting.

Posted by: johnn23 | July 6, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Gee Robin, that's a thoughtful comment. And here I thought you spent every day sitting around making nonsensical anti-tax rantings here on the post website.

Posted by: | July 6, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Gov. MOM has no equivocation when it comes to sparing convicted murderers, though.

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 6, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the GOP O'Malley haters are out in full force...over THIS? Look, why the fuss about gay folks getting married? Let 'em! Why should us straight guys be the only ones made to suffer? Fair is fair. Thats all I'm sayin'.

Posted by: free-donny | July 6, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

At least this will be a small step. It's has only been in the last couple years that I came to understand the irrational religious hatred propagated in God's name.

All the Bs, eg sanctity of marriage, protect traditional marriage, etc, is the same rotten bigotry that was used in the past when in particular women got the vote, and inter-racial marriage was implemented in 1967.

Watching the news, I get the impression that the right wing of the republican party, with their looking backwards conservative religious clientele is little different then the theocrats who run Iran.

And the history of the western world - the dark ages, and how hatred of the Jews propagated by you know what church gave hitler the lever to get elected and give the world WWII and the holocaust.

The hatred against gay people, part of God's creation, is a stain on our national soul and a disgrace before God.

Posted by: SteveMD2 | July 7, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

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