July 20, 2012 | by Steve Charing
Large turnout for marriage fundraiser

Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign Chair Josh Levin encouraged state LGBT residents to have conversations with voters. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Nearly 100 supporters packed the Ellicott City home of Lou and Diana Ulman, the parents of Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, on July 13 to attend a fundraiser for Marylanders for Marriage Equality (MD4ME). Donors paid $75 to $2,000 for the event that saw a number of elected officials lending their support to defeat the November referendum to overturn the Civil Marriage Protection Act.

The fundraiser was co-hosted by Ken Ulman and County Register of Wills Byron Macfarlane who is the first ever openly gay officeholder in the county. All four of the Democratic County Council members attended as did state Del. Guy Guzzone and state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery).

In introducing Ulman, Macfarlane said, “Howard County has a major role in winning this referendum.” He thanked Ulman and the other elected officials for their personal commitment to the cause.

Ulman, who many predict will make a run for governor in 2014, said, “Our values of diversity and acceptance make Howard County the best place in America. In November, we will be the first state in America to pass this.”

MD4ME campaign Chair Josh Levin said the effort has a “values framework” whereby conversations with voters must take place to get the word out that emphasizes a lifetime commitment by same-sex couples. He stressed the need to raise money to not only pay for direct mail and run a field organization but to also counter the scare tactics commonly used by the opposition in these battles who “will appeal to the worst natures and worst fears.”

Madaleno told the Blade, “If every official of Ken Ulman’s status would hold such events, it would be quite helpful.”

The amount raised was not available.

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