Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley on the rise after elections
Election night was a good night for Maryland Democrats, but
especially for Governor Martin O’Malley. In addition to voting to reelect
President Barack Obama, Marylanders renewed mandates for the Democratic ticket:
Senator Ben Cardin, US Representatives John Sarbanes, Steny Hoyer, and Chris
Van Hollen, and denied 6th district Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett an
11th term in favor of Democratic newcomer John Delaney.
Governor O’Malley had four other reasons to smile, too. His constituents voted “Yes” on all statewide ballot measures championed by the Governor and Democratic Party leaders.
Four controversial ballot questions supported by Democrats in the State General Assembly were approved on Election Day. Those measures legalize same-sex marriage, allow in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants, create new congressional district boundaries, and expand gambling.
Maryland and Maine became the first two states to approve marriage equality by popular vote, after 32 states rejected the measure in previous referendums. This historic vote is a milestone for advocacy groups who have campaigned on behalf of same-sex marriage for decades.
The gay-marriage law had been approved by lawmakers and signed by the governor earlier this year, but opponents gathered enough signatures to challenge it. Activists only needed 56,000 signatures, but they submitted 113,000, more than twice the number needed to force a referendum on the measure, according to the Associated Press.
Maryland voters also approved a measure signed by Governor O’Malley last year allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition, provided they attended a state high school for three years and can show they filed state income tax returns during that time. About a dozen other states have similar laws, but Maryland's is the first to be approved by voters.
To pass these two measures, an unlikely coalition was formed: Latino and LGBT community leaders and elected officials launched Familia es Familia (Family is Family), a campaign that brought together Latinos and LGBT affiliates in advance of the November election.
Some conservative Latinos have negative feelings toward marriage equality, but the coalition sought to emphasize issues that bring their members together rather than what sets them apart. Latino leaders tied the marriage equality issue to civil rights, and cited polls stating that more than 60 percent of Latino Catholics support people’s right to marry someone of the same gender.
The relationship worked, and no one is more pleased than Governor O’Malley who is in his second term and is considered a likely contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. O’Malley tied his name for better or worse to President Obama’s, scored a coveted prime-time speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention, and delivered everything he promised on Election Night.
—Kid Reporter Hannah Prensky