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O'Malley Testifies For Gay Marriage

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)— It was a packed hearing room in Annapolis as Governor Martin O'Malley testified in favor of same-sex marriage.

Political reporter Pat Warren has the latest on both sides of this controversial issue.

If there is a quiet before the storm it's in the Senate where the bill passed last session. Gov. O'Malley's version of the bill is expected to pass this year.

Supporters of traditional marriage admit that they were caught off guard by the progress of the same-sex marriage bill that made it in the Senate last year. This year they got a jump on it. The rally on Lawyers' Mall on Monday night drew hundreds who opposed changing the definition of marriage.

"I came out here to stand up for traditional marriage and to say that same-sex marriage is an aberration of nature," said John Ritchie, same-sex marriage opponent.

"There are laws on the books in Maryland, which give the kinds of protections that some folks are asking for. So again, if it's not broken don't fix it," said Deacon Al Turner, same-sex marriage opponent.

Advocates for same-sex marriage answered with a show of support for the bill Tuesday morning.

"I am also a man of faith. I am also a servant of God. My belief is that God doesn't want any of us to live a life of shame, inequality or fear," said Rabbi Daniel Berg, same-sex marriage supporter.

As sponsor of the bill, O'Malley repeated for the Senate Judiciary Committee what he's been saying since he introduced the bill last week.

"It's not right, and it's not just that the children of gay couples should have lesser protection than the children of other families in our state," O'Malley said.

Opposing arguments come from no less passionate defenders of the tradition.

"Last week, our esteemed First Lady referred to those who oppose this legislation as cowards. This is just the latest example of those with sincere religious convictions are being encouraged to give up their beliefs," said Pastor Bob Borger, same-sex marriage opponent.

The real fight may be in the House, where even speaker Michael Busch isn't sure of the outcome.

"You know we do need a little bit of help,"  Busch said.

The bill was in the hands of the Senate Judicial Committee Tuesday. There is no word yet on when that committee might vote.

If the bill makes it through the General Assembly, it is expected to go to referendum.

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