There was no huge popular uprising demanding that the Maryland legislature repeal the death penalty. But, repeal it they did, largely through the successful lobbying of Governor Martin O'Malley.
“This is a historic moment for Maryland as we become the 18th state to eliminate the death penalty,” said Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference in a statement after the Maryland House passed the bill last Friday. “This is truly a joyful week for the Church in Maryland, as we rejoice over the appointment of our new Pope Francis, and over this long-sought victory to end the death penalty in our state. When the tradition of lighting the Coliseum in Rome is celebrated in November for all those states and nations that have eliminated the death penalty, it also will shine for Maryland.”
Governor O'Malley - and other Democrats - have a ways to go on the pro-life cause, but this is a step in the right direction. A big step. If a society finds it barbaric to execute those found guilty of heinous crimes, that society has a harder time explaining why it cannot extend legal protection to the most vulnerable members of the human race, the unborn.