This is so juicy! (Sorry for the crude title, but it just seemed so appropriate).
As we all expect the proponents of same-sex marriage will be going after Maryland again in this next session of the Maryland General Assembly coming up in January 2012.
Now comes news that a major national pro-gay marriage group is having second thoughts about supporting the Maryland effort saying that Maryland might not advance the cause, but could actually lose (again!) and thus hurt their cause! First, a bill to legalize gay marriage might not pass in the legislature, and if it does, it faces a stiff referendum challenge.
The article doesn’t say it, but they have to be looking at the highly successful referendum effort by Delegates Neil Parrott and Patrick McDonough on the issue of in-state tuition for illegal aliens. Parrott is already chomping at the bit to unleash grassroots activists on this issue where he will, in addition to Tea Party-minded conservatives, also have enormous support from large conservative churches.
The head of the national advocacy group Freedom to Marry startled leaders of Maryland’s campaign to pass a same-sex marriage bill in 2012 when he implied this week that organizers weren’t doing the work needed to defeat an expected voter referendum to overturn such a bill.
Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, told the Washington Blade on Monday that his group chose not to join a coalition of local, state and national groups called Marylanders for Marriage Equality. The coalition is leading efforts to lobby the Maryland Legislature to approve a same-sex marriage bill when it convenes in Annapolis in January.
“We are deeply committed, as we have been for years, to ending exclusion from marriage in Maryland and throughout the country,” Wolfson told the Blade in an email.
But he added, “In Maryland, because of the likelihood that marriage legislation can be forced onto the ballot, the key question is not just passing a bill in the legislature, but defending it against an attack campaign via ballot measure,” he said.
“Freedom to Marry has made it clear to members of the coalition and to lawmakers that our goal is to win, not simply to pass a bill, if there is not sufficient groundwork and investment in a campaign to win at the ballot,” he said.
….sources familiar with the coalition’s member groups, who spoke on condition that they not be identified, said at least some of the coalition’s representatives took offense at Wolfson’s remarks.
Here are the members of Marylanders for Marriage Equality:
In addition to HRC [Human Rights Campaign] and Equality Maryland,* other members of Marylanders for Marriage Equality include the NAACP of Baltimore, the ACLU of Maryland, the Service Employees International Union of Maryland, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Progressive Maryland, the National Black Justice Coalition, Catholics for Equality, Maryland Faith for Equality, Maryland NOW, the Family Equality Council, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
Read the whole article, it is chock-full of all sorts of interesting information on O’Malley’s 2012 push for the legalization of gay marriage in Maryland. He needs this and in-state tuition to burnish his credentials for the big boys upstairs in the DNC (if he wants to be among them going forward).
* See my post last spring on the shake-up at Equality Maryland, here.