Deb Dubois, chair of the Mautner Project Board of Directors, applauded McIntosh for the role she played in the passage of last November’s referendum on Maryland’s same-sex marriage law — McIntosh announced the results at the downtown Baltimore restaurant where Gov. Martin O’Malley and other Question 6 supporters had gathered.
McIntosh specifically thanked the governor, state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County,) state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City,) the Human Rights Campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union and Marylanders who voted for the same-sex marriage referendum.
“On Jan. 1 we became the first state whose electorate added same-sex marriage as a right,” she said. “Now we are among nine states strong.”
McIntosh echoed Dubois who thanked lesbian state Dels. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) and Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) who attended the event along with gay D.C. Councilmember David Catania (I-At-Large.) She also thanked her long-time partner Diane Stollenwerk, whom she recently married in a small Quaker ceremony in Baltimore.
“There are some people that think maybe Diane is the woman who has made me a better woman,” she said. “I agree.”
Founded in 1990, the Mautner Project provides an array of health care and other related services and advocacy to lesbian, bisexual and transgender women.
McIntosh noted during her acceptance speech that Stollenwerk went to the emergency room at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis last week — and hospital staff admitted her as her spouse to be “with her through every test and every decision and her discharge.”
“The life of same-sex couples is not simple and routine in 37 states,” she said. “These relationships are not equal.”
The Baltimore Democrat described the upcoming oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on cases that challenge the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act as potentially “momentous.” McIntosh stressed access to health care remains a serious problem for many LGBT Americans.
She noted 30 states have yet to ban discrimination against gay men and lesbians in employment, public accommodations and access to health care facilities. McIntosh further pointed out 37 states do not have trans-specific legal protections in place.
“While we march towards marriage equality continues, we should not lose sight of the critical needs and access to health care within the LGBT community,” she said. “Let us also recognize the health disparities in our community and work to close those gaps. The positive and just normal life experience that Diane and I had this week in a hospital emergency room would not have happened in a majority of our states.”
The Mautner Project honored McIntosh ahead of an anticipated vote in the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on a bill that would ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression in employment, housing and public accommodation.
The House of Delegates in 2011 passed a trans rights bill, but a similar measure died in a Senate committee last year.
McIntosh told the Washington Blade last month she expects Senate Bill 449 will easily pass in the House.
She said she and other gay state lawmakers continue to work with Madaleno, who introduced the measure with state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County,) and Equality Maryland to ensure it garners additional support in the legislature.