January 21, 2015 at 2:00 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Hogan sworn in as Md. governor
Larry Hogan, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) was sworn into office on Jan. 21, 2015 on the steps of the State House in Annapolis, Md. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Lieutenant Gov. Boyd Rutherford on Wednesday officially took office during a snowy ceremony at the State House in Annapolis.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie introduced Hogan to the hundreds of people who gathered on Lawyers Mall for the inauguration. Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich also spoke.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Congressman Elijah Cummings, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Baltimore Archbishop William Lori and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker were among those who attended the ceremony.

Hogan, a Republican who was a member of Ehrlich’s administration, in November stunned political observers when he defeated then-Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown.

Hogan during an interview on News Talk with Bruce DePuyt last August said his position on marriage rights for same-sex couples has “evolved.” The Republican also noted he would not seek to repeal Maryland’s gay nuptials law that voters approved in a 2012 referendum.

Hogan during the campaign said he opposes the state’s transgender rights statute that took effect last October.

Hogan transition team sparks controversy

Blair Lee, a Montgomery County developer who Hogan tapped as a member of his transition team, in 2012 described gay sex as a “mortal sin” in a column against Maryland’s same-sex marriage law that he wrote for the Gazette newspapers. The Silver Spring Democrat in a 2006 column compared gays to pedophiles and serial killers.

State Sen. Christopher Shank (R-Washington County) claimed in a 2012 op-ed he wrote for the Herald-Mail newspaper that marriage rights for same-sex couples would jeopardize religious freedom in Maryland.

Hogan earlier this month appeared at an event in Washington County that Shank and state Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington County) hosted. Parrott last spring spearheaded an ultimately unsuccessful effort to collect enough signatures to prompt a referendum on the trans rights law.

Neither Hogan or Rutherford mentioned LGBT rights during their inaugural speeches.

“Too often, we see wedge politics and petty rhetoric used to belittle adversaries and inflame partisan divisions,” said Hogan. “I believe that Maryland is better than this. Our history proves that we are better than this. It is only when the partisan shouting stops that we can hear each other’s voices and concerns.”

Hogan specifically mentioned sexual orientation in his first executive order that outlines ethics standards for executive branch employees.

“Employees shall adhere to all applicable laws and regulations that provide equal opportunity for all Marylanders regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability or sexual orientation,” it reads.

Larry Hogan, gay news, Washington Blade

Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) gave his inaugural address on Wednesday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, who met with Hogan last summer, applauded the governor.

“From the start of his campaign, Gov. Hogan has been mindful of the concerns of the LGBT community, and stressed his desire to represent the interests of all Marylanders,” Angelo told the Washington Blade. “I’ve never known Gov. Hogan to be anything other than a friend and ally of Log Cabin Republicans, and know that it will not be long before he proves himself to be a friend and ally of the greater LGBT community in Maryland as well.”

Larry Hogan, gay news, Washington Blade

Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) introduced Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) at the Maryland gubernatorial inaugural address. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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