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Md. Gov, Archbishop at Odds Over Same-Sex Marriage

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Roman Catholic archbishop of Baltimore urged Gov. Martin O’Malley last month not to sponsor same-sex marriage legislation because it “deeply conflicts” with the governor’s Catholic faith, but O’Malley responded that he has a public obligation to change unjust laws.

O’Malley’s office released letters Monday showing that two days before he announced plans to sponsor a same-sex marriage bill, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore urged him to reconsider. O’Brien wrote in the July 20 letter that the governor should not be pressured by passage of gay marriage legislation in New York earlier this year. O’Brien also noted the struggle lawmakers had last year on the issue.

“As advocates for the truths we are compelled to uphold, we speak with equal intensity and urgency in opposition to your promoting a goal that so deeply conflicts with your faith, not to mention the best interests of our society,” O’Brien wrote.

O’Malley, a Democrat, responded to O’Brien weeks later by writing “when shortcomings in our laws bring about a result that is unjust, I have a public obligation to try to change that injustice.”

He wrote, “I have concluded that discriminating against individuals based on their sexual orientation in the context of civil marital rights is unjust.” And he added, “I have also concluded that treating the children of families headed by same-sex couples with lesser protections under the law than the children of families headed by heterosexual parents, is also unjust.”

O’Malley announced on July 22 that he will make legalizing same-sex marriage a top priority by sponsoring a bill in Maryland’s 2012 legislative session. This year, gay marriage legislation passed the Maryland Senate, but the measure stalled in the House of Delegates. After a debate, the House sent the bill back to committee after it was determined it was a few votes short.

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