O'Malley to say Friday whether he'll sponsor a same-sex marriage bill

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Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will announce Friday afternoon whether he will sponsor a same-sex marriage bill in next year’s General Assembly.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, will hold a 2 p.m. news conference in Annapolis to announce his role in next year’s expected marriage debate. The governor has said he will take a more active role in fighting for gay marriage after remaining mostly behind the scenes during this year’s unsuccessful effort to pass a bill.

This year’s gay-marriage bill passed the Senate but died in the House after resistance from Republicans and socially-conservative Democrats. Democratic leaders estimated support was likely three or four votes short of a majority in the 141-member chamber.

Mr. O’Malley has said he could sponsor next year’s bill and follow in the footsteps of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat who was largely credited with leading his state’s legalization of gay marriage last month.

New York’s bill passed with support from most Democrats and four Republicans in its 62-member, Republican-controlled Senate. It passed due in part to language that protects religious organizations that oppose gay marriage from having to accommodate weddings or provide certain services to couples.

Mr. O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said last week at a conference in Utah that he would support a bill with similar protections.

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