This is old news I’m sure for those of you following the gambling issue and/or gay marriage in Maryland, but since it was news to me I decided it might be to some of you as well.
It seems that Same Sex Marriage activists in Maryland tried to keep Governor O’Malley from bringing up the gaming issue at this time. But, obviously they failed and O’Malley signed the gaming bill back in mid-August, here. Putting it on the ballot for the voters to decide in November was the compromise to get it approved by the state legislature.
So why did the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund send a flyer to Maryland voters urging Marylanders to tell O’Malley to stop pushing gambling at this time?
Here is what they said in a flyer I found buried in my junk mail basket (emphasis mine):
Maryland Moves Ahead…And Then Risks Marriage Gains
On March 1 Governor Martin O’Malley signed legislation making Maryland the seventh state to recognize Marriage Equality.
It was a huge accomplishment…
Governor O’Malley was instrumental in making it happen, and his leadership was superb…
That’s the good news. On the other hand…
Right away marriage foes began organizing and launched an effort to put the issue on the ballot this November. As a result, in four months, Maryland voters will have the final say as to whether Marriage Equality becomes the law in the Free State.
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that we won’t get the “clean shot” at Maryland voters that we’ve wanted. A serious complication has arisen, one that threatens to derail all the progress we’ve made there in the last few years.
It appears increasingly likely that the Maryland Legislature will pass a bill that expands casino gambling in an August special session [already happened as I said above—ed]. This bill must be approved by voters in November, and that’s the problem.
These casino fights are always messy. The companies involved spend tens of millions of dollars to pass or defeat ballot proposals. If the gaming bill is on the ballot, opponents are likely to spend millions identifying and turning out voters who don’t like gambling….and who also don’t like Marriage Equality! So all the “no” votes on gaming could also be “no” votes to us.
Numerous polls confirm this…. [let’s hope that is true!—ed]
They go on to urge recipients of the mailer to tell O’Malley to drop the gambling issue at this time. Instead he thumbed his nose at the marriage gang by choosing money/cronyism over “marriage equality.”
Vote “NO” on four!
That is the simple message on four of the seven ballot questions facing Marylanders in November (there are actually seven, but the first three are not hot button issues).
The list is here in a Washington Post story from a week ago where Delegate Neil Parrott is quoted:
Parrott said that, luckily for him, he can spend the next 80 days before the election pushing a simple motto: “Just say ‘no’ — vote no on all four,” lumping in the state’s expansion of casino gambling to the three he helped petition to referendum.
The four ballot questions Parrott is referring to are Numbers 4, 5, 6, and 7, here, at the Maryland State Board of Elections website.