October 6, 2011 at 10:58 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
O’Malley launches video campaign for marriage equality

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley this week delivered the first in what marriage equality advocates say will be a series of video messages calling for the approval of a same-sex marriage bill next year by the Maryland Legislature.

The video campaign, organized by the newly formed Marylanders for Marriage Equality Coalition, is modeled after a similar campaign in New York State, which passed a same-sex marriage bill earlier this year under the leadership of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“I’m Gov. Martin O’Malley and I’m a Marylander for marriage equality,” O’Malley said in the video message recorded from his office at the State House in Annapolis.

“As a free and diverse people of many different faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles – among them equal protection of the law for every individual and the free exercise of religion without government intervention,” he said.

“The legislation we plan to introduce in the 2012 legislative session will protect religious freedom and equality of marital rights under the law,” he said. “I ask you to join us as we work to pass marriage equality in the State of Maryland.”

Raquel Guillory, O’Malley’s communications director, said the governor’s office provided the video equipment used to record his message. She said the Human Rights Campaign, which coordinated a similar video campaign in New York, arranged for O’Malley to make the video on behalf of the coalition.

HRC officials say they are working on additional videos expected to be recorded over the next few months by civil leaders, sports figures and “regular Maryland citizens.”

In addition to HRC, the coalition members include the state LGBT advocacy group Equality Maryland, the NAACP Baltimore Chapter, the ACLU of Maryland, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Maryland, Progressive Maryland, National Black Justice Coalition, Catholics for Equality, Maryland Faith for Equality, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Organization for Women of Maryland.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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