Gov. Martin O'Malley spoke out about the future of same-sex marriage in Maryland as he and state lawmakers announced a special session, hours after North Carolina voted to ban it. The same afternoon, President Obama spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage.
Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley has issued a statement commending President Barack Obama's updated stance on same-sex marriage.
Becoming the first U.S. president to publicly support the issue, Obama told ABC News on Wednesday that his feelings on the issue have undergone an "evolution."
During his 2008 campaign, he'd said he opposed same-sex marriage, and favored civil unions as an alternative.
O'Malley's statement reads:
Today, President Obama affirmed that for a people of many different faiths -- a people who are committed to the principle of religious freedom -- the way forward is always to be found through greater respect for the equal rights and human dignity of all.
In Maryland, we agree.
Ultimately, we all want the same thing for our children: to live in a loving, stable committed home protected equally under the law.
In March, O'Malley signed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland. If the bill survives an upcoming referendum, same-sex couples will be able to wed in the state beginning Jan. 1.
D.C. Councilmember Mary M. Cheh also applauded Obama in a statement Wednesday:
Marriage equality is an issue of fundamental fairness. A just society must provide equal protection to all of its citizens. This truth was enshrined in the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Act of 2009, which provided marriage equality in the District of Columbia. I was proud to be a part of that historic legislation, and I am proud of our President today.
Cheh was a co-introducer of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Act of 2009 in the District. The city legalized gay marriage in December of that year, with the first same-sex couples tying the knot there on March 9, 2010.
The Archdiocese of Washington released a statement Wednesday evening opposing same-sex marriage. The statement reads in part:
The Archdiocese of Washington will continue to strongly advocate for the federal government's existing definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Furthermore, the archdiocese supports efforts undertaken by those who uphold the traditional meaning of marriage.
On NBC Washington's Facebook page, many commenters were supportive of Obama's announcement. "Bravo, Mr. President, for demonstrating you want to be the president of all, not just those who share your beliefs," Larry Hoffer wrote.
Another poster, Laura McDermott, wrote, "As long as I'm paying taxes to this country, I want the same rights as everyone else. So, hopefully the views of others changes along with our president."
However, a few wrote they believed Obama was doing it more for political points than a deep-held conviction. "Of course he changed his mind!" wrote Deborah Lee Dunn Wheeler. "He wants to be re-elected and he wants to get as many votes as possible no matter what he has to do!"
Others disagreed outright. "To force this type of 'marital' union on society is an insult to the Creator," wrote Patricia Donnelly.
And commenter Michael Schearer pointed out one unexpected result of the president's statement: "So, President Obama has finally come around to agreeing with Dick Cheney."