BALTIMORE, MD, August 17, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Edwin O’Brien, the archbishop of Baltimore, isn’t happy with the Catholic governor of Maryland’s decision to sponsor homosexual “marriage” legislation, but the governor has said that he has no intention of backing down.

A July letter from Archbishop Edwin O’Brien to Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, and an August 4 written response by the governor, were both posted on the governor’s blog last Tuesday.

In his original letter Archbishop O’Brien challenged Governor O’Malley to act in line with his faith and not to support homosexual “marriage,” suggesting that the governor was acting out of “mere political expediency.”

“Preserving the central role of the natural family unit has always been — and should continue to be — the reason why our government recognizes marriage as existing between one man and one woman,” he said.

O’Brien suggested that the July passage of similar legislation in New York has intensified pressure on O’Malley to lend his “active support to legislation to redefine marriage.” But he said that it was “especially hard to fathom” O’Malley supporting homosexual “marriage” legislation, given that “our requests last year for you to sponsor legislation to repeal the death penalty and support students in Catholic and other non-public schools were unheeded.”

The governor responded to O’Brien’s letter in a letter of his own, saying that he agrees with many of the Church’s beliefs, but not on the issue of homosexuality.

“I do not presume, nor would I ever presume as governor, to question or infringe upon your freedom to define, to preach about and to administer the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church,” O’Malley said. “But on the public issue of granting equal civil marital rights to same-sex couples, you and I disagree.”

“When shortcomings in our laws bring about a result that is unjust, I have a public obligation to try to change that injustice,” said the governor.

“I have concluded that discriminating against individuals based on their sexual orientation in the context of civil marital rights is unjust. I have also concluded that treating the children of families headed by same-sex couples with lesser protections under the law than the children of families headed by heterosexual parents, is also unjust.”

As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, O’Malley announced the passage of homosexual “marriage” as a legislative priority on July 15 at a meeting for the National Governors Association in Salt Lake City, Utah. A bill to legalize homosexual “marriage” passed the Maryland State Senate in March, but it failed to win passage in the House of Delegates. O’Malley had promised to sign the bill if it had been approved by the House.