Despite the obvious political upside of Tuesday’s wins, O’Malley has told reporters that one of the lessons was that it’s “a little too easy” for opponents to petition laws to Maryland’s ballot. Three of the measures — same-sex marriage, the Dream Act and the congressional map — were put to a public vote because of successful petition drives.
Tuesday’s votes also tied O’Malley more closely to issues popular with Democratic activists that he was not among the first to embrace.
For much of his political career, O’Malley was a supporter of civil unions as an alternative to same-sex marriage. It was only after a marriage bill narrowly failed in the 2011 legislative session that he agreed to sponsor the legislation going forward.
By that time, similar legislation had passed in New York, championed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a potential rival for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.
Asked about his decision, O’Malley said: “The biggest single influence was a sense that the time was ripe and people were ready to do this with some leadership.”