Another day in the Summer for Marriage – another 300 conversations

By Scott Davenport, Managing Director, Freedom to Marry

I just got back from attending Equality Maryland's events in our Summer for Marriage, and I'm just so excited by all the great work I saw going on in support of the freedom to marry.

The Summer for Marriage Tour - our series of events designed to move marriage equality forward and ensure messages about loving and committed same-sex couples are heard in the wake of NOM's anti-gay "marriage tour" - came to Maryland today and our colleagues there used this as an opportunity to hold 7 different events in cities across the state.

They decided holding counter rallies across from the meager NOM turnout of 20 wouldn't really be all that productive and instead they mobilized over a hundred volunteers to reach out to folks in different areas and collect names and commitments of support from all over the state.

Equality Maryland's goal is to pass a Marriage Bill in the upcoming legislative session and they want to build an army of 50,000 supporters they can rely on to make that happen and defend the win at the ballot box if necessary. And tonight - thanks to NOM! - we added another 300 names to the list.

I attended two events at Equality Maryland's offices in Baltimore. At the first, about a dozen volunteers spent the night making almost 300 phone calls and collecting pledges of volunteer support and contributions from 50 new supporters. Add that to the five other locations holding similar phone banks or collecting post cards of support, and I'm sure we easily got our 300 today.

The night started with a chance for everyone to get to know each other and then a brief training.

Then we hit the phones. It can be a long night, but our team of volunteers got into it and hit the goals Equality Maryland had set for the night. And they were so charged up, many agreed to come back in a week or two and do more. This is the kind of commitment that will help us win marriage nationwide.

Meanwhile upstairs, two dozen faith leaders were holding a first organizational meeting for Equality Maryland's Pride in Faith program. It was so great to see such a wonderfully diverse group of religious folks. We had Unitarian's and Episcopalians and Presbyterians and Baptists, and we even had a Catholic priest and some interfaith organizers. We had African American faith leaders from 4 different counties in the state along with Latinos and Anglos. This really is a big tent movement.











After introductions and a non-denominational prayer, the group got right down to it. First on the list was a discussion of what resources faith communities could draw on in the work to fight for loving, committed gay couples. Everyone had a need, but many around the room made offers of help.

The Catholics are putting together a resource brochure and are introducing it in the fall. The Maryland Black Family Alliance has a video of African American Maryland Voices for Equality. HRC offered materials from its Religion and Faith Program. And Freedom to Marry offered its Moving Marriage Forward brochure on how to use the Golden Rule in talking to the movable middle.

But the group wanted to do more. They asked for information on Equality Maryland's endorsements in the upcoming election that could be circulated to their congregations. They wanted to know what events Equality Maryland planned for the fall. They volunteered a church hall in Annapolis for a prayer breakfast on behalf of the freedom to marry during the upcoming legislative session.

And they volunteered to build an even larger Pride in Faith organization - using both their own network and the network built when Equality Maryland advertised the support of over 100 faith leaders from across the state this past spring on the heels of the Maryland Attorney General's opinion requiring that legal marriages from out-of-state by same-sex couples be honored by the state of Maryland.

With such a passionate group of believers, I know we'll be making progress every day on our Roadmap to Victory (check out the videos of a couple of the attendees below!)




















Maryland will indeed be another of the next states we win. And just think -- we have NOM (and Equality Maryland and Freedom to Marry) to thank for today's great progress!