July 20, 2012 | by Michael K. Lavers
Marylanders for Marriage Equality raises $250K at Chevy Chase fundraiser
Martin O'Malley, gay news, gay politics dc

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The group defending Maryland’s same-sex marriage law raised $250,000 at a Chevy Chase fundraiser on Wednesday.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, gay state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County), state Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery County) and Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin were among the roughly 70 people who attended the Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser at long-time Democratic activists Susie and Michael Gelman’s home. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and Andrew Barnett, executive director of the Sexual Minority Youth Action League, also attended the fundraiser.

“We are very grateful for the generosity of those who attended the Wednesday event,” said Marylanders for Marriage Equality spokesperson Kevin Nix.

The Chevy Chase event comes less than a month after O’Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel County) co-hosted a Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser in Ocean City. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and gay Howard County Register of Wills Byron Macfarlane co-hosted a July 13 fundraiser for Marylanders for Marriage Equality in Ellicott City. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was among those who attended another event in the Charm City that raised roughly $20,000 for the group.

Chevy Chase residents Tony Varona and John Gill on July 15 hosted an Equality Maryland fundraiser in support of the campaign to defend the state’s same-sex marriage law. Madaleno, state Sens. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County,) Jim Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s County), and Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) as well as state Dels. Susan Lee (D-Montgomery County), Aruna Miller (D-Montgomery County) in addition to Chevy Chase Mayor Pat Burda were among those who attended.

Josh Levin, campaign director of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, told the Blade last month he remains confident his group can successfully defend marriage rights for gays and lesbians in the state with between $5 and $7 million. The campaign has yet to publicly disclose the amount of money it has raised, but some activists have said that Marylanders for Marriage Equality will need up to $12 million to defend the law in the November referendum.

Meanwhile, the Blade has learned that O’Malley has asked gay Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf to host a D.C. fundraiser in September.

“We are working on dates,” said Elmendorf.

O’Malley’s office did not immediately return the Blade’s request for comment, while Nix did not provide further details.

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

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