Push is on for marriage in Maryland

Marylanders for Marriage Equality and Maryland Faith for Equality at Gov. O'Malley's press conference.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who will address the Task Force’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change on Sunday, Jan. 29, this week introduced  a marriage equality bill, the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012.

On Tuesday morning, before introducing the bill to the General Assembly, the governor hosted a breakfast for same-sex couples, and supportive clergy and faith leaders from different faith traditions and denominations. At a news conference following the breakfast,  couples, clergy, the president of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition (of which the Task Force is a member) and the governor all voiced their support for marriage equality and for religious freedom and liberty.

The governor’s support signals that now is the time for Maryland to move forward with full marriage equality to protect all families and children. Proposing that all loving and committed couples could legally marry in Maryland is not new. The Task Force was part of a coalition of national and statewide organizations in 2011 to attempt to pass marriage through the legislature. Our grassroots, on the ground help, contributed to the thousands of voter-signed postcards that went to the delegates and senators. Our work with clergy started then and continues with the faith leaders we’ve supported, identified and mobilized. Today was a historic day in Maryland as pro-LGBT clergy and congregations stood with the governor garbed in stoles and vestments of all colors of the rainbow.

Our focus in Maryland, since the 2011 legislative session has been to build and strengthen relationships with and training people of faith in Maryland to use their voices and the conviction of their faith to express their support for transgender rights and marriage equality in Maryland. We thank Governor O’Malley for his strong support of marriage equality for all Marylanders. His voice will be instrumental in passing this legislation this year.

People of faith want to live in a state where everyone can live their lives, as the governor said so beautifully, with dignity and respect. That means that all loving and committed couples should be able to marry, and no one should ever experience discrimination because of who they are. We sincerely hope that the governor will give the full strength of his support to the comprehensive gender-identity nondiscrimination bill. The time to pass both these bills is now. If you live in Maryland, please respond to the call for help below from our coalition partners who are working hard to work for passage of both bills:

The Maryland Senate is holding a hearing in Annapolis next Tuesday, Jan. 31, on the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012 and we need you to come to Annapolis. We must show strong support for marriage during this crucial time. The opposition will make it a priority to be there and to scare legislators into voting against loving and committed families. This is one of the most important times to come to Annapolis and show your support for marriage equality. Bring your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Join Marylanders for Marriage Equality all day or for one of 2 shifts, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 1-6 p.m. RSVP here and please indicate the shifts you plan to attend. Please RSVP at http://bit.ly/zocNpN. You can also e-mail Karess@mdfme.org or David@mdfme.org with any questions.

We also need you to come back to Annapolis for Equality Maryland’s lobby day on the evening of Feb. 13, beginning at 4:30 p.m. This will be a critical time for hundreds of people to show strong support for a comprehensive bill that protects transgender Marylanders from discrimination as well as to continue to support the marriage equality bill. RSVP now to Equality Maryland’s Feb. 13 lobby day here: http://equalitymaryland.org/events/lobby-day