The O’Malleys are pressing hot buttons on gay marriage

Martin and Katie OMalley

Martin and Katie O'Malley

The push to authorize same-sex marriage in Maryland had already been a contentious issue at the State House, even before tomorrow’s hearing on the O’Malley administration bill and today’s big rally opposing it.

But right after the bill’s introduction last week, the O’Malleys, both husband and wife, managed to press even more hot buttons for same-sex marriage opponents. Judge Katie O’Malley, the first lady, blamed last year’s failure of the bill on “some cowards that prevented it from passing.” Gov. Martin O’Malley had earlier sent out a mass e-mail fundraising appeal for the cause, a tactic which Republicans called “unethical” if not illegal.

Judge O’Malley’s remarks at the National Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality in Baltimore on Thursday night were especially surprising, since she generally steers clear of controversy and taking political stands. As first lady, she works on topics like preventing bullying and domestic violence, encouraging reading, gardening and home-grown foods. Brian Witte of the Associated Press first reported her inflammatory remarks and their aftermath.

After the negative pushback, Judge O’Malley quickly apologized.

“I regret my recent choice of words at the Creating Change Conference last night,” she said in a statement Friday. “I let my feelings get the better of me. I deeply respect that there are strongly held and differing views on marriage equality in Maryland, but hope that our state’s elected officials will come together to fairly address this important issue for our families and children.”

Last Tuesday after a breakfast he hosted at the mansion for gay marriage advocates, Gov. Martin O’Malley used his campaign committee to send out a fundraising appeal for Marriage Equality, the coalition backing same-sex marriage.

“Today, I am writing to ask for your support of equal rights under the law in the context of civil marriage rights in Maryland,” O’Malley said in a personalized e-mail that went to thousands who have signed up to hear from the campaign, including legislators. The e-mail contains two links to the Marriage Equality page for electronic donations.

Republicans found the solicitation questionable because O’Malley and lawmakers are barred from raising money for themselves and their campaigns during the legislative session. (The contribute buttons on the O’Malley-Brown website are disabled.)

“Gov. O’Malley is blatantly disregarding the longstanding prohibition against raising money during the legislative session,” said state GOP Chairman Alex Mooney in a statement.  “At best, the Governor’s scheme to raise money for an organization supporting a bill he is running through the General Assembly is unethical.”

“I have never seen a governor send out a notice regarding his legislative package and to simultaneously tell the legislators to donate to the very special interest group that benefits from that legislation,” said Del. Michael Smigiel, R-Cecil. “This is the kind of behavior that causes the public to lose faith in their elected public servants.”

O’Malley continues to raise money outside the state for the Democratic Governors Association, which he chairs. In November, the Sun’s Annie Linskey did a detailed story about how O’Malley was raising big bucks for the DGA from firms with major interests before his administration.

–Len Lazarick

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Anonymous

    The alleged catholic O’Malley, would appear to be relying on his Irish “gift of the gab” to prevail when he comes to that final interview with God – I don’t think it will work, and despite the fact that I despise his politics, from the time he was mayor of Baltimore and turned a blind eye to the raising of funds for the Irish terror group the IRA to his present inability to live within our means and this hideous proposal of so called same sex marriage, I would be uncomfortable knowing he had chosen eternity in hell.

  2. Dale McNamee

    I wonder if they still are the “good Catholics” that they purported to be while Marty ran for the Governor’s office ? Doesn’t look like it…

  3. Frank Van

    O”Malleys are megalomaniacs with no basis.  Marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.  Being truthful to a definition and solid tradition does not equate with disrespect for the committed gay couples.  They should have equivalent rights asoin a marriage, but do not call it marriage.  Then calling people “cowards” when we assume that they act in accordance with their conscience is terrible and that for a Judge to whom we have to submit our cases for “judgement”. Inexcusable and indefensible.

  4. Anonymous

    And we should be surprised that O’Malley flip-flops on the issues? He is a politician that will say anything or do anything that will help him stay in power. As for the govs wife, bullying backfires doesn’t it? Let the people decide, not our honorable (sic) elected officials & their spouses looking to move up the poliical food chain to garner more glory.

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