A person doesn't have to look far to find Governor Martin O'Malley's heart because he wears it out in the open.
The Democratic Governor of Maryland has been in the forefront in the epic battle of marriage equality. Using his remarkable ability to bring people together in non-traditional alliances, the Governor was instrumental in the passage of marriage equality in The Free State.
Now the radical right has placed on the November ballot a measure to repeal the legislation. The Governor has been on the phone raising funds and has spoken publicly about the urgency of passing "Yes On Question Six" which would protect marriage equality in his state.
O'Malley has had an interesting path to the Governor's mansion and is perhaps on his way to the White House.
Born and raised in Maryland, he is the product of a Catholic education. In 1984, he became one of the new generation of Democrats that supported Gary Hart for President. Barbara Mikulski appointed him as her state field director when she was first running for the United States Senate. In 1991, O'Malley ran for Baltimore City Council and served for 8 years in that position.
After his outstanding leadership on the City Council, he won election as Mayor of Baltimore in 1999 and won re-election in 2003 with 67% of the vote. "Esquire" named him "The Best Young Mayor In America" He developed a reputation among other Mayors for creating innovative and pilot programs for Homeland Security and reducing crime.
In 2006, the O'Malley was elected Governor of Maryland, defeating incumbent Republican Bob Ehrlich. For good measure, O'Malley defeated him again in 2010 with 56% of the vote. The Governor has one of the most progressive records in America. He supported Hillary Clinton in her race for President but strongly supported President Obama in the general.
The Governor is married to Catherine "Katie" Curran O'Malley and they have four children. O'Malley, in addition to great humor, is a great musician. He has played in a number of bands and last St. Patrick's Day played at the White House!
1. Where did you develop your passion for politics and who was the greatest influence on you in choosing that path?
My biggest influence, far and away, are my parents, Tom and Barbara O’Malley. They taught my sisters, brothers, and me to love God, love our family and love our country.
I was also influenced a great deal by the Jesuit education I received at Gonzaga College High School - a high school that refused to leave its Washington, D.C. location after the 1968 riots. It’s mission is to produce “Men for Others.”
I learned about Arnold Toynbee's theory of the progress of man. Namely, that man (and by man he meant men and women) progresses in response to adversity: when the adversity is too great man (or society) perishes or moves away; when the adversity is too little, he atrophies or stagnates. I learned that expectations become behavior.
And I learned that it is not enough to have faith, you must also have the courage to risk action on that faith, to risk failure upon that faith: the faith that one person can make a difference and that each of us must try.
I have also been blessed with the opportunity to work and learn from some truly great public servants. Former Senator Gary Hart and Maryland’s legendary Senator, Barbara Mikulski. My father-in-law, Joseph Curran has also been a great mentor.
2. You grew up attending a Catholic high school and attended Catholic University of America. How do you reconcile your deep faith with your progressive stances on social issues?
I was taught at home and school to love your family, love your country and love God. I was also taught repeatedly in school to respect the dignity of every individual. Finally, I have worked with many gay and lesbian people in the course of my life. I've had the honor to know, socialize, and interact with a number of families headed and provided for by gay parents.
Every child's home should be protected equally under the law. I feel passionately about that categorical imperative.
We are a diverse people of many different faiths and yet we all share the Common Good of a just society and a personal responsibility to advance and protect the Common Good.
3. You have been a successful Mayor and Governor and clearly you are on everyone's short list for President in 2016. How do you not lose your inner self in all the hoopla? What do you do to keep centered?
Spending a half-hour alone and in silence at the beginning of every morning—being mindful, grateful, and reading good things – helps me stay centered and focused on the service I’m blessed to be able to offer.
Knowing there is suffering in this world, in my state, in my city, in my community and knowing I can do something to alleviate that suffering is what motivates me. Making progress is what makes me happy. I look at my four children and all of the children of Maryland and work every day to leave them with a better future than the ones our parents and grandparents left us.
4. You were instrumental in passing the marriage equality legislation in Maryland which opponents are attempting to repeal on the ballot in November. What brought you around to be such a forceful and courageous advocate for marriage equality?
It is not right or just that the children of gay couples should have lesser protections than the children of other families in our State. It also wouldn't be right to force religious institutions to conduct marriages that conflict with their own beliefs and their own teachings.
That’s why we came together to pass a bill that treats people fairly and equally under the law while also protecting religious freedom. Now in November, we are growing the consensus and mutual understanding necessary to become the first State ever to defend marriage equality at the ballot box.
For a free and diverse people of many faiths, the way forward is always found through the greater respect for the equal rights of all; for the human dignity of all.
We are One Maryland and I am confident that we will move forward toward a more just society.
5. What is the most embarrassing and funny moment in your political career?
I've avoided many embarrassing moments by never missing a field goal when I visit the Baltimore Ravens practices. (I may or may not practice with my kids in the backyard before I go,...)
This is a fun blooper roll sent by the Governor's office of the Governor and Ms O'Malley attempting to film a "It Gets Better" video! A real sense of fun!