Tag Archives: Maryland

Marriage Equality Poised for Historic Gains in November

15 Sep

This November voters in four states are poised to make historic votes on marriage equality. Maine, Maryland and Washington have voter initiatives to create full marriage equality; Minnesota faces the latest in a decade-long string of state constitutional amendments to limit marriage to heterosexuals. What makes the 2012 elections especially interesting is the history of marriage equality votes. No state so far has adopted marriage equality through direct voter approval, depending instead on legislatures and courts. More significantly, all 28 states that have presented voters with constitutional amendments to ban equality have succeeded. It seems very likely that this November will see a major shift in these trends.

MAINE: In 2009, the Maine legislature approved marriage equality, replacing the existing limited civil union law. Anti-gay forces pushed the law to the ballot and defeated it 53-to-47. Since then, Mainers United for Marriage has worked diligently to change hearts and minds through a massive public education campaign. Question One on the November ballot will give voters a chance to re-establish full marriage equality in the state. The most recent poll shows the Question passing 57-to-35.

MARYLAND: Maryland also has limited civil union rights; it is also one of only three states that recognizes same sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Last March after strong lobbying from Marylanders for Marriage Equality and other groups, the legislature approved a marriage equality bill which was signed by the Governor. It was promptly referred to the ballot by anti-gay organizations as Question 6. Equality is polling strong in Maryland as well, at 57-to-37; it received a big boost — especially among the state’s African American population — when President Obama expressed his support in May.

WASHINGTON: Earlier this year Governor Christine Gregoire pushed the legislature to pass a marriage equality bill, which it did. As with Maryland, the bill was promptly referred to the voters as Referendum 74. Washington United for Marriage has mounted a strong public awareness campaign that also seems to be paying off. A poll released this week shows equality leading 56-to-33.

MINNESOTA: Unlike previous congressional election years, there is only one state with a marriage ban on the ballot this year. Minnesota is one of the few states with no law regarding same sex marriage at all. The Republican-led majority in the legislature passed an amendment in 2011 which requires approval by the voters. Minnesotans United for All Families is working hard to make their state the first to reject such an amendment. The vote on this measure is tighter, but the ban seems to be failing 43-to-49 in the latest polls.

True equality can only happen when the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is overturned and every citizen of every state has the right to marry the person they love. With every poll putting equality outside the margin of error and with most surviving even if all the undecideds swing negative, there is reason for optimism. Victory in just one state would be revolutionary; providing and protecting equality in all four would signal a sea change in American attitudes.


NFL Stars Tackle Homophobia

8 Sep

Ayanbadejo and Kluwe

What a delightful surprise! Not one but two NFL players have recently shown strong support for LGBT equality. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has been a vocal supporter for some time, participating in HRC campaigns like NoH8. Because marriage equality is on the ballot in Maryland this year, he has supported Marylanders for Marriage Equality. Enter Maryland House of Delegates member Emmett C. Burns.

In a shocking display of homophobia and free speech trampling, Burns sent a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti demanding that Ayanbadejo “concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.” Ignoring the fact that civil rights matter for everyone, Burns illogically says that being a celebrity removes the right to have opinions (that disagree with his). That Burns is African American and ignores the intersections of oppression is even harder to believe.

The response to Burns has been wonderful, however. Ayanbadejo said he would like to “thank him more than anything for bringing national attention to the issue” and questioned Burns’ merit as an elected official. Then enter Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. Minnesota is facing a one-man-one-woman hate amendment this November and Kluwe has recorded three ads opposing the equality ban. He wrote an impassioned letter to Burns defending his NFL colleague and marriage equality. It’s a wonderful letter in full; here’s a good sample.

I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?

Well said, Mr. Kluwe, and thank you! Given the homophobia in most professional sports and the small number of athletes who are willing to be out and proud, players like Kluwe and Ayanbadejo are important heroes. Let’s hope their voices make life easier for the next generation of athletes and help establish better equality for all.

Bigot of the Week Award: January 13, Maryland Senate President Mike Miller

13 Jan

Bigot of the Week

For those that have accuesed TSM of not exposing bigotry and hypocrisy from Democrats, you will see that TSM has no political bias when it comes to exposing hypocrisy, racism, homophobia, or misogyny.  How very sad that Democrat Mike Miller from Maryland has no clue about civil rights.  His tirade against marriage equality earns him this week’s BWA.

Regarding marriage equality, Miller said:

I’m a historian and I look at civilizations, I study civilizations, I read history every night. And I see it’s an attack on the family, I think it’s an attack on traditional families. That’s the way I see it.

Exactly how is it an attack on traditional families?  What is a traditional family? Shall we punish single parents raising children? Shall we also punish couples without children?  Miller sadly shows his pathetic ignorance as an “historian.”  Let us not forget that African Americans were not allowed to have “families” in the United States until the end of slavery. How sad that the Decmocrats in Maryland gave this man a position of authority from which to trumpet his ignorance.

Of course, it is no surprise that TSM gives California girl scout “Taylor” a dishonorable mention for her boycott against the Girl Scouts for allowing a transgender girl to join.

NAACP Supporting Marriage Equality in Maryland

10 Sep

The Time is Now for Marriage Equality

Yesterday, September 9, 2011 the Baltimore NAACP chapter demonstrated true social courage and joined the steering committee to ensure marriage equality in Maryland in 2012. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) lends its voice and political clout to a chorus including labor, civil liberties, and LGBT groups already on board. Of course, this news warmed my heart.

The support from the NAACP not only will help all LGBT folks striving for equality, but it sends a clear message to the African American population that all of us must do a better job of taking care of our LGBT brothers and sisters of color. For those of you that are regular TSM readers, you know that violence has increased against the LGBT community overall by 13% in a single year, with people of color experiencing violence in disproportionate numbers .

Tessa Hill-Alston, president of the Baltimore Branch NAACP, said in a statment:

We believe gay and lesbian couples have the same values as everyone else…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.

Brava, Ms. Hill-Alston.  People like Hill-Alston give me hope that we can collectively address the intersections of oppression and move to push for equality for all oppressed peoples. Hill-Alston is the tonic for the hypocrisy and bigotry I witness from gays who are racist and misogynists, or blacks who are homophobic, or women who are anti-women and homophobic.  I simply don’t understand how anyone that is or has been marginalized can’t feel an obligation to then stand up for others who are marginalized. I am hopeful and will look forward to other NAACP chapters stepping up to the plate and continuing to show great courage and leadership for civil rights for all.

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