Let’s get marriage equality over the finish line in Maryland

By Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

The Task Force has been involved in a variety of ways to help secure marriage equality in Maryland, including through our faith work during the legislative session, as a member of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition, and by holding our 2012 Creating Change Conference in Maryland, where Gov. Martin O’Malley gave a keynote address spotlighting efforts to pass marriage equality and gender identity nondiscrimination protections.

We applaud the governor’s efforts to secure marriage equality. In his remarks — to more than 3,000 Creating Change attendees in Baltimore — he stated, “Maryland is the 7th state that was admitted to the union by ratifying the Constitution of the United States. We believe that with your help and with the hard work of the people throughout the State of Maryland, we can also be the 7th to pass a civil marriage equality law.”

The marriage equality bill passed the Legislature and was signed by the governor, but still faces one last hurdle in November when Maryland voters cast their ballots on the issue. We are on the brink of seeing marriage equality become reality in Maryland, but we’re not quite there yet.  That’s why we heeded the governor’s message and took action.

We asked potential supporters to join us in pushing the Legislature to give us the best possible opportunity to secure marriage equality in November — a ballot uncluttered by gambling — a measure that could negatively impact our chances.

The Task Force Action Fund registered an independent expenditure committee — sometimes referred to as an independent-expenditure-only political action committee — that last week sent a mailer to a portion of registered Democratic households in Maryland advocating that an uncluttered ballot provides for the best chance for securing marriage equality this November. At issue was the possibility of this gambling measure being added to the ballot.

We do not have a position on gambling, but rather on marriage equality. Concerns had been raised that having the gambling measure added to the ballot could jeopardize the outcome of the marriage equality vote. Read more here, here and here.

The purpose of the mailer, funded by the Task Force Action Fund, which like other nonprofits includes many donors, some named and some who are not, is to get marriage equality over the finish line in Maryland. Following an early morning vote today in a special legislative session, the gambling measure is now heading to the November ballot. We ask that you support Marylanders for Marriage Equality, including by hosting a house party, participating in the Aug. 25 Day of Action and giving to the Grassroots Super Supporter program.

All Maryland families deserve nothing less than fairness. Let’s get this done.