Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brody's Notes... Maryland Governor Hosts Fundraiser For LGBTQ Advocacy Organisation

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley
Photo by Francesca Volturo
By Brody Levesque | ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND -- Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley,(D) has made passage of marriage equality legislation in the 2012 session of the Maryland Legislature a priority of his administration, and in a display of unity with LGBTQ Marylanders, is co-hosting a fundraiser in suburban Washington benefiting Equality Maryland.
Raquell Guillory, the Governor's Director of Communications, said the event would be “the first of many” in which the governor plans to build support for marriage equality legislation, which passed the state's senate in the 2011 legislative session but was pulled in the House of Delegates because of lack of votes. The governor, who said he would sign the bill, was criticised at the time for not being vocal enough in his support.
When contacted by LGBTQNation, Lisa M. Polyak, the advocacy group's acting president, said that O'Malley's unconditional support for same-sex marriage in Maryland was critical and that Equality Maryland was grateful for the governor's support.
This past July 22nd, O'Malley along with Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, issued statements during a press conference regarding the decision to sponsor same sex marriage legislation for the upcoming 2012 session. In the 2011 session, same sex marriage legislation was proposed and sponsored by State Senator Rob Garagiola, Delegates Kumar Barve and Ben Barnes.
The Governor told reporters:
“Marylanders of all walks of life want their children to live in a loving, stable, committed home – protected under the law. As a free and diverse people of many faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles or beliefs, among them “equal protection of the law” for every individual and the “free exercise” of religion without government intervention. Other states have found a way to protect both these rights. So should Maryland. The legislation we plan to introduce in the 2012 legislative session will protect religious freedom and equality of marital rights under the law.”
Tonight's fundraiser will be attended by leading Democrats, some of whom are thought to be potential candidates for Maryland's 2014 gubernatorial races including Maryland's Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown, State Comptroller Peter Franchot and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.
Equality Maryland had announced in late May that the organization was in a serious financial crisis, leading to the resignation of the organisation's Executive Director along with the layoff of nearly all of its staff. In an e-mail Tuesday, board members announced that the organization had reached “a place of stability and confidence in our future.”
According to the emailed statement, the organisation emerged from the month of August debt-free for the first time and has resources to meet its operating expenses for the next two months. Polyak, in the phone call with LGBTQNation today, emphasised that the organisation's goal was total accountability to the community. She also said that with the plans to seat almost a dozen new board members by the end of September, and the selection of a new executive director to be announced after the new board selects a candidate in October, the future looks brighter for Equality Maryland.