Baltimore NAACP chapter joins Marylanders for Marriage Equality

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the broad and diverse coalition working to bring civil marriage equality to Maryland, today announced that the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will join its steering committee. The NAACP joins a number of labor, civil liberties, and LGBT groups, including the Task Force working to pass a marriage equality bill through the Maryland Legislature in 2012.

“Having the NAACP on board is a welcome addition to the coalition working to win marriage equality in the Free State,” said Sultan Shakir, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. “The NAACP’s long history of working for equality and fairness for all will be instrumental in harnessing the supportive voices in the African-American community and throughout Maryland.”

According to a Grove Insight poll released earlier this year, 48% of African Americans support marriage equality while 41% oppose it – a significant increase in support from 2009.

“We believe gay and lesbian couples have the same values as everyone else,” said Tessa Hill-Alston, president of the Baltimore Branch NAACP. “They want to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love and build a loving, stable family. So it is only right that committed gay and lesbian couples be given the opportunity to marry as everyone else. We look forward to working with the coalition and lawmakers to pass a marriage equality bill that protects religious freedoms.”

The NAACP joins Senator Rich Madaleno, Delegate Luke Clippinger, Equality Maryland, Progressive Maryland, 1199 SEIU, ACLU-MD, Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force as steering committee members for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. In July Governor O’Malley announced that marriage equality legislation would be part of the legislative package he moves through the legislature early next year.