Following several high-profile cases across the country, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley will sponsor same-sex marriage legislation in the 2012 legislation session.
O'Malley announced the decision during a press conference Friday. He said he wanted to see how New York passed legislation that protected religious freedoms.
"As a free and diverse people of many faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles or beliefs, among them 'equal protection of the law' for every individual and the 'free exercise' of religion without government intervention," O'Malley said in a statement. "Other states have found a way to protect both these rights. So should Maryland."
He said the legislation he plans to introduce in the 2012 legislative session will protect religious freedom and equality of marital rights under the law.
The Maryland Senate passed a gay marriage bill last session but it stalled in the House of Delegates.
"All Marylanders deserve to be treated equally under the law, and I look forward to joining Governor O'Malley in working with the General Assembly to pass a Marriage Equality bill that will provide the same opportunity for all who wish to marry while fully protecting religious freedoms and views," said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown in a statement. "Every member of our community should enjoy the same freedoms and share the same responsibilities."