Gov. O'Malley Makes Pitch for Marriage Money

Governor tells marriage-equality supporters to ''activate social networks,'' says proponents need at least $2 million

When asked about the conflict between the hierarchy in the Catholic Church and his position in favor of marriage equality as a practicing Catholic, O’Malley spoke of what it means to be an American as well as religious.

”The laws of pluralistic and diverse people should protect rights equally under the law,” he said. ”I believe that the vast majority of Catholics, Protestants, Jewish and Muslim people that I know believe in that fundamental truth of our republic. I also believe that without freedom of conscience, there is no freedom of religion.”

In response to a question by Metro Weekly about polling and outreach to Latino and Asian populations, Levin pointed to the immigrant-rights organization CASA de Maryland as an ally to marriage-equality supporters. The local gay-rights organization Equality Maryland, a member of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition, recently teamed up with CASA de Maryland to help build support for both the marriage-equality law and a referendum on Maryland’s version of the DREAM Act, which allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children who have attended a Maryland high school and whose parents have paid taxes, to apply for in-state tuition.

Levin also cited the campaign’s last poll, from the end of July, when Hart Research found Marylanders would support marriage equality by a 54-40 margin. Levin described the poll’s numbers as ”moving in the right direction,” particularly among African-Americans, who have gone from overwhelmingly opposing Question 6 to evenly split. But he also acknowledged that opponents have claimed their own polling shows them within five points of overtaking marriage-equality supporters, and said he wouldn’t be surprised if the race tightens up as it gets closer to November, suggesting that July’s polling might have been overly optimistic.

O’Malley said that marriage-equality opponents will likely have a easier time raising money and that proponents could be ”outgunned,” but said the goal of defending marriage equality was ”achievable” if supporters don’t become discouraged, demoralized or complacent. He also subtly encouraged people outside of Maryland to contribute to the campaign, saying, ”This is not a private fight.”

”I’m confident that we will raise an additional $2 million,” O’Malley concluded. ”But I also know that it’s going to require people in Maryland – and around Maryland – getting their second wind, making the investment that allows us to push this over the goal line and win this.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com