June 20, 2012 | by Michael K. Lavers
Jealous: There’s a “very good chance” Md. voters will support marriage law
Gay News, Washington Blade, NAACP

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous at Team DC's Night Out at Nationals Park (Blade photo by Michael Key)

The head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stressed earlier on Wednesday that he remains optimistic that Maryland voters will support the state’s same-sex marriage law in the likely November referendum.

“There’s a very good chance, but with any fight you’ve got to stay in fighting position right up until the very end,” said NAACP President Benjamin Jealous in an exclusive interview after he attended Team DC’s Night Out at Nationals Park on Tuesday.

Jealous’ comments less than a month after the Maryland Marriage Alliance submitted 113,000 signatures in support of a referendum. The organization had needed to collect 55,736 signatures by June 30 to prompt a vote on the same-sex marriage law that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in March. An unofficial count posted to the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website last Friday shows that officials have validated 109,313 of the 113,000 signatures.

A Public Policy Polling survey last month also showed that 57 percent of black Marylanders would support marriage rights for same-sex couples in the likely referendum.

Jealous, who spoke with the Blade roughly a month after the Baltimore-based organization’s Board of Directors endorsed nuptials for gays and lesbians, stressed that supporters of nuptials for gays and lesbians need to realize that the PPP poll simply means that “they’re doing good at the moment.” He further categorized the effort to defend Maryland’s same-sex marriage law as a long-term “fist fight” in which he said LGBT activists and their allies must remain engaged.

Jealous also stressed that he feels President Barack Obama’s public support of nuptials for gays and lesbians has had an impact on public opinion among black voters—Obama urged Marylanders to vote for their state’s same-sex marriage law during a campaign fundraiser in Baltimore on June 12.

“He’s done a lot and is really respected — especially in the black community,” said Jealous.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

4 Comments
  • Good job i really like the idea of the marriage thing being a holy thing which people can go for if they want to, even if its the same sex. I could get abit jealous of the highly skilled writing you performed :).

  • I wish there was a “very good chance” the Washington Blade would change their tagline from “AMERICA’S LEADING GAY NEWS SOURCE” to “AMERICA’S LEADING LGBTQ NEWS SOURCE”

    Not as catchy, I know… but definitely more inclusive. As an openly bisexual male (and believe me, I’m in a real minority) it sure would be nice if the Blade recognized their role in formulating part of our language’s lexicon. Using the G word in settings like this is like saying “Gay Marriage” as opposed to “Same-Sex Marriage.”

    As a longtime Washington Blade supporter, I don’t have much to complain about. I think you all are doing a terrific job. But please – it’s 2012. This detail should be changed, now.

    • Very good point, Dave. Rest assured, in the articles themselves we use “LGBT” in all of our articles, and we use same-sex couples instead of gay couples, because some members of same-sex couples may not necessarily identify as gay. However, the reason we use “gay” more in headlines and tags is a simple matter of reaching a wider audience online. When that little 17 year old kid, scared and confused, coming out in rural Idaho, and never having made contact with the LGBT community before, she or he may not know all the language, but she or he will know that she or he is “gay,” and when she or he goes looking for information resources online, that is where they will start: with that word. Gay. Using “gay” in headlines and tags helps us connect to a broader audience, where we can introduce them to the more precise language, like “LGBT,” within the content itself.

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