Democrat Governor: Gov't Owes It to Children to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

By Melanie Arter | February 24, 2012 | 2:00 PM EST

Martin O'Malley, governor of Maryland. (AP Photo.)

( – Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said Friday that his decision to support a same-sex marriage bill, which cleared the state Senate and is expected to be signed into law, was made after considering the children of gay parents.

“One of the perspectives that helped us through this … was looking at this issue from the perspective of the children of gay parents. …I just wanted to add that in our evolution and my evolution and the evolution of a number of legislators, we concluded that it was not right and not just - that children of gay parents should have homes that are protected in a lesser way under the law than other children,” said O’Malley, speaking at Politico’s 2nd Annual “State Solutions” Conference at the Newseum.

When asked whether his own views on the issue of same-sex marriage had changed, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association – who also attended the conference – said it had not.

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“Well no, because from all the data that I read, and my views on this, like many I think are driven by one’s religious beliefs, and everybody’s got to make up their mind on that. But I would say to you that most of the data that I’ve read that the best environment for a child to grow up to be fully capable of achieving the American dream and having the best start in life is an intact two-parent family made up of a man and a woman,” McDonnell said.

“I think that’s what all the data would suggest. Now unfortunately, because of divorce and any number of things, that is no longer…the family that every young person grows up in and that’s why the governor [O’Malley] and I spend a lot of money on social services and so forth to help people, to create a good safety net, to be able to take care of people when families are not intact,” the Virginia governor added.

“But that has been, I think undeniably for centuries what has really held society together and is the best environment for children but also for society generally. And I think virtually all the data that I read from sociologists and others – right and left – the empirical data coming out of that intact two-parent family is in fact the best for our country – should be the model, but when it doesn’t work, we have safety nets,” he added.