That said, gay marriage advocates are in a good position in Maryland. They know where the votes are in the Senate, and that is unlikely to change. They also know who in the House is persuadable, and because a vote was never taken in that chamber, they don't need to get anyone to reverse themselves, a factor that made the effort in New York more difficult.
They also now have the object lessons of what happened to those politicians who came out in favor of gay marriage this year, such as Governor O'Malley and Senator Kittleman, and Sens. Jim Brochin, Kathy Klausmeier, Edward Kasemeyer andRonald Young.
Senator Brochin had long opposed gay marriage, insisting on civil unions instead, until he changed his mind during a committee hearing this year. After the legislative session was over, he sent out his customary annual letter to constituents he had met over the years by knocking on doors, some 8,800 households and 14,000 voters.
"While my decision to support same-sex marriage did not come easily," he wrote, "I am convinced that it was the right decision. In the end, I could not let my preconceived notions and my own uneasiness over the word 'marriage' trump my commitment to provide equal protection under the law, and to allow same-sex couples to raise their families in peace, without fear of discrimination."
Before the letter went out, he said, people in his district were "pretty skeptical." But not now.
"When I'm at swim meets with my daughter, or at the Giant, or wherever, overwhelmingly people come up to me and say, 'I got your letter, and I understand why you did what you did. I'm not crazy about the word marriage, but I understand,'" he said.
And that, more than a sense of momentum from New York, is why gay marriage proponents should feel good about their chances next year.