Maryland’s annual pro-LGBT Lobby Day, which many believe will be critical for proponents of marriage equality and gender identity nondiscrimination legislation in Maryland, will take place on Feb. 13 in Annapolis. The event kicks off with a rally at Lawyers Mall at 6 p.m. that typically draws hundreds of supporters.
Following the rally, and in some cases prior to its end, groups form to visit their respective delegates and senators to persuade them to support the pertinent bills. Through the years, personal stories presented by LGBT residents and allies have proven to be a successful method to win over these legislators.
A complete list of speakers for the rally had not been set at press time. However, Candace and Rebecca Jones-Gingrich as well as Sen. Kittleman are confirmed to participate. Kittleman broke ranks with the Republican caucus last year to become a public supporter of marriage equality.
This year’s Lobby Day will be unique in two respects. For the first time, it will be run by Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a coalition of various progressive organizations that was formed in July of last year. Equality Maryland, one of the coalition member organizations, had previously organized the event by itself. In addition, a new group, Gender Rights Maryland, will take the lead in attempting to pass gender identity protections.
“Opponents of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples showed up in full force on Jan. 30,” Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland told the Blade. “All of us on the side of fairness for all Maryland families must do the same. The Maryland Legislature must see and hear from us.”
Hearings for two House committees on the Civil Marriage Protection Act were set for Feb. 10.