O’Malley, McDonnell Take Different Routes to Governors Conference
Govs. Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Bob McDonnell of Virginia arrived in Washington Friday for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. While neither governor had to travel far to get to the nation’s capital, the circumstances surrounding their arrivals could not have been more different.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell; photo courtesy Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons
Virginia legislators struggled over the past week over controversial abortion-related measures. After a week of bitter feuding, lampooning on late-night comedy shows and a national public debate, McDonnell shifted his stance on the issue and suggested some amendments.
At a panel event hosted by Politico Friday morning, McDonnell outlined his position and said he thinks the revised legislation will earn final passage soon.
“During the course of discussion, after talking to lawyers and doctors on my own and after we started to hear some concerns raised in the Legislature … I thought it was prudent to recommend to the General Assembly that they make a change,” McDonnell said.
“I am a pro-life governor … and I support the bill,” McDonnell said, adding, “but I didn’t think it was proper to mandate invasive ultrasounds.”
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; photo by Tom Williams/Roll Call
O’Malley, meanwhile, was bristling with confidence the morning after the Maryland state Senate passed a bill Thursday night legalizing same-sex marriages. The governor said Friday morning he “looks forward to signing” the measure.
“I’m prepared to sign the bill because I believe that the way forward among people of many different faiths is always in the direction of greater respect for the equal rights of all,” he said.
O’Malley, a Catholic, came under some scrutiny earlier this year when a series of letters between the governor and the Archbishop of Baltimore were released laying out the conflicted interests of the governor’s faith and his perceived duty to social justice. But on Friday O’Malley said he had found a balance between his religious and social views, telling the crowd: “The heart of religious freedom is the freedom of individual conscience, and the freedom of individual conscience requires a respect for the equal rights of all.”
O’Malley and McDonnell are also the heads of their respective parties’ governors associations and spend a good deal of time together at public appearances. While they may fall on opposite sides of most issues, the two Beltway governors are generally amicable.
“Governor O’Malley and I are friends, we work together on a lot of things,” McDonnell said. “On a lot of things we get along, but we have very different views when it comes to what’s going on at the federal level and our approach to governance, but that’s the beauty when it comes to our democracy and the [Constitution] … written by Virginians.”
“But financed by Marylanders,” O’Malley chimed in.