With reporting by John Riley.
Early today, Jan. 24, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) met with marriage-equality supporters at a breakfast held at the governor's residence to discuss the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012 before introducing it to the General Assembly.
"All of us want the same thing for our children ... We want our children to live in loving, stable, committed households that are protected equally under the law. We also believe that we can protect religious freedom and rights equally under the law," he said. "Other states have found a way to do this; we can find a way to do this, too. And that common ground that allows us to move forward is dignity. The human dignity of every single person."
Rev. Dr. John R. Deckenback, conference minister of the United Church of Christ Central Atlantic Conference, supported the bill in a statement released by the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition following the Jan. 23 announcement of O'Malley's 2012 legislative agenda, saying, "The governor's bill not only protects but strengthens religious freedom."
The coalition's release also quoted Ezekiel Jackson, political organizer for SEIU 1199 of Maryland and president of Marylanders for Marriage Equality.
"Labor is on the side of all working families -- not just certain families," Jackson said. "There are thousands of same-sex families who wish to make a better life for their kids. Their dream just got closer to reality today because of Governor O'Malley."
[Image: Screen capture of Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaking at a news conference on Jan. 24, 2012.]
WATCH today's news conference: