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Maryland's Governor explains his evolution on same-sex marriage

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UPDATE: Debate was supposed to begin at 11 AM. But, according to a tweet from The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey, there's a delay: "There is some kind of delay on marriage bill. House to go back in at 5 or 6" We'll keep you posted.
The Governor of Maryland, who like Governors Gregoire and Cuomo is Catholic, expounded upon his evolution on the marriage issue publicly last night, the eve of the House marriage vote. The Baltimore Sun called it "his most detailed explanation to date for the evolution of his stance on gay marriage":

During the hour-long conversation in front of roughly 120 people, the governor said that his long-held private belief in civil marriage for same-sex couples was sacrificed for political goals. When running for governor in 2006, he said, he decided to publicly support civil unions because at the time most Marylanders supported a distinct form of union for gay couples.

"I was mayor of the city of Baltimore then and my political advisers and friends went absolutely nuts and said 'There is no such term as "civil marriage" … if you use the term "civil marriage" you are going to jeopardize whatever hope we have to defeat the current officeholder and make the sort of strides, in any number of areas, that [then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is] opposed to on these things," O'Malley said.

In July, O'Malley announced that he would throw his support behind a bill to legalize marriage for same-sex couples in Maryland. When asked at the announcement why he changed his position on the issue, O'Malley declined to elaborate, except to say that growing up in the Catholic Church influenced his early thinking on the topic.

Wednesday night, he said, "So I stuck pretty much to civil unions, believing honestly that that was the place where a public consensus could be forged that could move us forward. ... I have since seen that this debate is moving much more quickly."
The debate has moved much more quickly. Even President Obama, who has yet to evolve, said on October 27, 2010, "The one thing I will say today is I think it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going."

Let's not forget, it's a smart political move. O'Malley is often mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. Andrew Cuomo, who is also on that list, set a pretty high bar on marriage equality. In 2016, it will be politically untenable for any Democrat running for President to be on the wrong side of marriage. Given the polling and the momentum, that should be the case with our nominee in 2012, too. (Just #evolvealready, it is the right thing to do morally and politically.)

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