Senator Mikulski Signs on as Cosponsor of Respect for Marriage Act


Senator Mikulski Signs on as Cosponsor of Respect for Marriage Act


Press Contacts:
Jackie Yodashkin, Freedom to Marry, jackie@freedomtomarry.org917-620-4502

Ana Beatriz Cholo, Courage Campaign, anabeatriz@couragecampaign.org312-927-4845 

Lisa M. Polyak, Equality Maryland, lisa.polyak@gmail.com410-599-2112


(Baltimore, MD, September 8, 2011) – Today, following a campaign last month by Freedom to Marry, Courage Campaign and Equality Maryland urging Senator Barbara Mikulski to support the Respect for Marriage Act, the Senator announced that she would become a cosponsor.

"Freedom to Marry applauds Senator Mikulski for heeding the call of families across the state and joining her fellow U.S. Senator from Maryland in cosponsoring the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill to repeal the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act,’" said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide.  "Overturning DOMA's unfair exclusion from federal protections would make a big difference in the lives of the nearly 17,000 same-sex couples in Maryland who are working hard to take care of each other and their families each and every day while being denied the critical safety-net that only marriage brings.  We look forward to working with Senator Mikulski to grow the numbers of supporters in the Senate so that we can bring an end to marriage discrimination as soon as possible in these tough economic times.”

On August 28, the organizations delivered nearly 3,000 signatures to the Senator’s Baltimore office.  The signatures were collected through an online campaign by the three groups representing a variety of constituents from around Maryland, which will likely consider a bill that would extend the freedom to marry to committed same-sex couples in the state.  Currently, Maryland honors the marriages of same-sex couples married out of state, but those couples are still harmed by federal marriage discrimination under DOMA.  Senator Cardin has already signed on as a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act. 

“We battled wind, rain and fleeing residents on I-95 during a deadly hurricane named Irene just so we could deliver these signatures to Sen. Mikulski's Baltimore office,” said Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the 700,000-member Courage Campaign. “And it paid off. We need to keep going and continue working tirelessly until we get to the magic number of 60 votes.” 

The signatories signed onto a letter that reads:

We write on behalf of thousands of Maryland families who are presently denied critical protections and recognition under the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act”, or DOMA. Married same-sex couples are treated as legal strangers in the eyes of the federal government because of DOMA and excluded from the more than 1,100 federal laws in which marital status is a factor, including Social Security, immigration, and family and medical leave.

For the full text of the letter, click here:

"We are grateful to Senator Mikulski for her co-sponsorship of the Respect for Marriage Act, and willingness to aid the dismantling of discriminatory Federal law," said Lisa M. Polyak, Acting Chair, Board of Directors, Equality Maryland. "We are tremendously proud that in Maryland, every state-wide elected official supports marriage equality for same-sex couples.  These lawmakers understand that it is good public policy to treat all families equally under the law.  We look forward to the day when Federal law finally reflects this simple truth."



Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.

Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to work for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. 

Equality Maryland is Maryland's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights group, with thousands of members across the entire state. Equality Maryland includes: a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization that lobbies in Annapolis and across the state to create equal protection under the law for LGBT Marylanders and their families; a 501(c)(3) educational foundation that works to eliminate prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity through outreach, education, research, community organizing, training and coalition building; and Equality Maryland PAC, which exists to influence elections. For more information, visit