Momentum in Maryland: This week in the Vote FOR 6 campaign
September 26, 2012
With fewer than six weeks left before Election Day, all of the state organizations fighting for the freedom to marry in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington - where voters will decide on marriage-related ballot measures - are ramping up their visibility and working to raise more awareness and more money than ever. With successful visibility-raising and fundraising efforts, these state campaigns are working to win marriage at the ballot.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the coalition working to push VOTE FOR QUESTION 6 in Maryland to uphold the existing freedom to marry law in the state, has had an especially busy week. Here are four ways the campaign has been working to push Question 6 this week:
Gov. Martin O'Malley encourages fundraising efforts: The state's governor, who signed the freedom to marry into law in March, joined a conference call with reporters and bloggers on behalf of Marylanders for Marriage Equality. He said, "We have the ability to pass this in Maryland. It is in keeping with the character of our state to protect rights equally under the law while also protecting religious liberty. But we do need to raise money here. We need to raise another couple of million dollars, and if we are able to do that, I believe that we will pass this, and raising those dollars is critically important for our ability to be able to defend this at the ballot."
O'Malley also warned that our opponents, bankrolled by anti-gay behemoths like the National Organization for Marriage, are raising money quickly and snapping up critical TV airtime, which they'll use to air ads promulgating messages that play on scare tactics and lies. He said: "We expect that the opponents will try to exploit divisions and try to pit African-American voters against gay and lesbian people in our state. We expect that they will try to convince voters that somehow by passage of this law that every child in Maryland will somehow be taught that they need to be gay, and we know that their third strategy will be to try to convince voters that they're being duped by the ballot language."
Black clergy members speak out for the freedom to marry : On Friday, a group of prominent black clergy members joined together to voice strong, united support for Marylanders to vote FOR Question 6. One of the primary thrusts of the group appearance was that this law is about fairness for all families - and that the CIVIL marriage law will in no way influence or force religious institutions to change their policies on marriage in their churches.
Rev. Delman Coates, senior pastor of the Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD, spoke directly to NOM's long-standing attempts to "drive a wedge" between the LGBT and black communities, asserting that this will not be effective in Maryland. He said, "As pastors and clergy leaders, we are here today to declare our unequivocal support for Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection Act and to dispel the myth that all African American pastors are fundamentally opposed to the idea of marriage equality. For too long the issue of equal treatment under the law for gay and lesbian couples has been mired in a theological debate between those on the one hand who oppose same-sex marriage based upon their religious beliefs, and those on the other who affirm it based upon theirs. And while this is a legitimate discussion for people of faith to have, the appropriate arena that conversation is the house of worship, the seminary, the Bible study or some other religious setting."
Adam Lambert plays benefit show for Question 6: Last night, singer Adam Lambert played a benefit performance for the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign in Washington, D.C. Lambert, who was runner-up on his season of American Idol four years ago and saw his new album Trespassing debut at No. 1 earlier this summer, took some time out of his show to speak directly to his support for Question 6. He said, "The thing I like about Question 6 is that it's not really about politics at all. Yes, you have to vote to choose Yes on 6, but you don't have to be a Republican or a Democrat or either one. It has nothing to do with the partisan stuff. It's a human rights issue. So even for my brothers and sisters who are also not that politically minded, this is something that's really important for everyone. It's a very simple vote: Do you want to give equal rights to all members of your community, or not?"
Listen to all of Lambert's remarks in the video below.
NAACP President Ben Jealous continues organization's strong support for marriage: In May, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People approved a resolution supporting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide. Now, they're focusing in on the Maryland ballot campaign, which they feel, demographically, makes the most sense to invest serious time into winning the freedom to marry.
NAACP president Benjamin Jealous reiterated their support for marriage for all couples earlier this week. He said, "We at the NAACP understand that we are here ultimately to ensure that there is equality beneath the law for every human being in this country."
Jealous' advocacy follows on the heels of a letter to the editor penned by NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond about why marriage matters in Maryland from earlier this month, as well as a video from Prince George's County's NAACP President Ben Ross.