We applaud Gov. Martin O'Malley for his bravery in standing with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Marylanders as he throws his support behind marriage equality ("O'Malley to back same-sex marriage, July 23). In doing so, Governor O'Malley risks the scorn and abandonment of his church, as well as marriage opponents of all stripes throughout Maryland and beyond. Our prayers and gratitude are with him as he stands up for what is right, in the face of potential personal repercussions.

We have been together as a committed couple for 22 years. In December 2009, to celebrate the culmination of our 20th anniversary, we were married in a beautiful church wedding in Fairfield, Conn. That was the most wonderful day of our lives. The only damper, of course, was returning to our Maryland home — where nothing had changed in our recognized status as a couple, despite the marriage license that hangs proudly framed just inside our front door.

We are blessed to be members of Foundry United Methodist Church, a progressive congregation in the heart of the District of Columbia that affirms and celebrates Washington's same sex marriage rights. Our faith is the anchor of our lives; it, and the love that we have shared since 1989, have seen us through the joys and sorrows of everyday life — from the deaths of parents and treasured pets to residential and professional transitions ... just like any married couple.

Thank you, Governor O'Malley, for recognizing and supporting the validity of our love and marriage. You can count on our support along the sure-to-be-rocky road to marriage equality for all Marylanders!

Mark Gruber and Sheldon Lebowitz, Timonium