Gov. O'Malley promised to support gay marriage and he's keeping that promise. He introduced the gay marriage bill last night.
The governor, his staff and advocates worked throughout the day to hammer out language detailing religious protections. They distributed the new legislative language moments before the 8 p.m. session began.O'Malley has invited LGBT supporters and religious leaders to finalize plans and to work out the details in the morning. This is getting good for us!
In an informal briefing with reporters earlier Monday, O'Malley said his bill would make religious protections "a little clearer" than they had been in last year's version of the measure. He said he hoped the changes would lead to "additional support."
The language provided Monday night made a few key changes, according to Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for O'Malley. She said the bill extended legal protections to leaders of religious groups, while last year's bill shielded only institutions.
The bill also makes clear that religious leaders, not the state, control theological doctrine, Guillory said. And it further limits any punitive actions — like denying government funds — that the state could take against religious organizations for failing to perform same-sex marriages.