Attorney General Doug Gansler told the Washington Blade last week that Equality Maryland “traded” its endorsement of Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown for governor for his support of a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders.
Gansler told the Blade during a Jan. 10 telephone interview that Brown should “honor” the Equality Maryland endorsement by making the trans rights measure an administration bill as Gov. Martin O’Malley did in 2012 when he designated the same-sex marriage bill a legislative priority. Gansler – who is running against Brown and state Del. Heather Mizeur in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in June – further stressed he feels the bill would have “a stronger chance of becoming law” this year if the lieutenant governor did so.
“That would be sort of putting his money where his mouth is,” said Gansler. “If it’s not an administration bill, I just don’t know.”
All three gubernatorial candidates have pledged to testify in support of the trans rights bill in Annapolis. O’Malley, along with Brown’s running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, are also expected to speak for the measure that state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) is set to introduce in the coming days.
Gansler’s running mate, state Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s County), and Mizeur co-sponsored a 2011 trans rights measure that passed in the House of Delegates.
“The three Democratic candidates for governor indicated strong support for the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, both on their questionnaires and during their interviews,” Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans told the Blade late on Sunday. “All three told us they would help pass this bill. None of them indicated their support or help was going to change based on our endorsement decisions.”
Brown’s campaign manager, Justin Schall, blasted Gansler’s comments.
“The leaders of Equality Maryland are dedicated, honest people and this unfounded accusation by Gansler is incredibly disrespectful of their process and the integrity of their organization,” Schall told the Blade on Monday. “Anthony Brown is, and has always been, a strong supporter of equality and justice because it’s the right thing to do.”