Md. gov will sponsor gay marriage legislation

By BRIAN WITTE | July 22, 2011 | 5:14 PM EDT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland's governor says he will make legalizing gay marriage a top priority of his administration by sponsoring a bill next year.

Gov. Martin O'Malley made the announcement at a news conference Friday. Gay marriage legislation passed the Maryland Senate this year but stalled in the House of Delegates when it became clear it was a few votes short.

While O'Malley supported the bill and said he would sign it, he did not include the measure in his list of legislative priorities. Supporters are confident O'Malley's stronger backing will make the difference next year.

But opponents are keeping a close eye on developments, and they're pledging to bring stiff resistance to Annapolis again.

Gay marriage has been legalized in six states, including New York, where gay couples can marry starting Sunday.