Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said on Monday that the campaign to defend his state’s same-sex marriage law needs to raise another $2 million ahead of the Nov. 6 referendum.
“We’re continuing to raise every day in every way, but I really want to make it clear here that we have the ability to pass this in Maryland,” he told LGBT reporters and bloggers from across the country during a Marylanders for Marriage Equality conference call. “It is keeping with the character of our state. It will protect rights equally under the law while protecting religious liberty. That’s why our state was founded to begin with, but we do need to raise money here. We do need to raise another couple of million dollars, and if we’re able to do that I believe that we will pass this. And raising those dollars is critically important for our ability to be able to defend this at the ballot.”
Josh Levin, campaign director of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, told the Washington Blade in June that he was confident he could run what he described as a “winning campaign” with between $5 and $7 million. He once again declined to provide an exact figure as to how much money his group has raised.
“I would say we are far along to our goal,” said O’Malley. “We are beyond the 50-yard line and we continue to move forward, not back.”
The governor spoke to bloggers and reporters a day before gay former “American Idol” contestant Adam Lambert is scheduled to headline a Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser at the 9:30 Club in Northwest Washington. He is also slated to attend a separate event with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray at gay Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf’s Logan Circle home on Oct. 2.
“We’ve been raising money for the campaign,” he said. “We’ve been organizing for the campaign and I believe that we have the ability if we can raise some more money to be able to be the first state or one of the first four states to pass this and to be able to defend this at the ballot.”
O’Malley also spoke three days after Rev. Al Sharpton and other prominent black clergy publicly urged Maryland voters to support the state’s same-sex marriage law in the November referendum during a D.C. press conference. Reverend William Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, and other ministers of color simultaneously blasted President Obama’s support of nuptials for gays and lesbians as they spoke with reporters in Arlington, Va.
The governor acknowledged that Question 6 opponents will soon begin to run ads against the referendum in Maryland — Levin conceded in a Sept. 20 fundraising pitch to Marylanders for Marriage Equality supporters that the campaign has only been able to purchase a week’s worth of television air time “in some places so far,” compared to the four weeks of commercial time on stations across the state that he said those who oppose Maryland’s same-sex marriage law have already bought. O’Malley said he further he anticipates anti-Question 6 ads will seek to either exploit what he described as divisions between black and gay Marylanders, convince voters that the passage of the same-sex marriage law will mean that “every child in Maryland will somehow be taught they need to be gay” or persuade them that the ballot language will somehow dupe them.
O’Malley echoed Levin who said the ballot language is one of the campaign’s biggest advantages going into the referendum.
“I’m excited about this campaign,” said O’Malley. “All indications are, especially after the courageous statements by President Obama and the very skillful way that the Democratic National Convention wove marriage equality and the Dream Act into the fabric of human dignity that the people of Maryland will choose to move forward and not back. And that we will in fact pass this and defend it on election day.”