With the Maryland Senate’s passage of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, which provides protections in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations based on gender identity, and the House of Delegates currently debating the measure, Equality Maryland, the state’s largest LGBT rights organization, has provided a glimpse into its future initiatives.
Last July, the organization developed a three-year strategic plan as reported in the Blade that provides a roadmap for its future. It focuses on “the intersections of the lives as LGBT and as military personnel, as people of color, as immigrants, as we age, as we are HIV+, as we attend school, and as we are persons with disabilities,” according to an Equality Maryland email to supporters.
Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, recently acknowledged that future legislative initiatives, while not having the same “stature” as marriage or transgender equality, are important nonetheless.
“Legislative issues around HIV and AIDS and schools come to mind,” Evans told the Blade. “In 2013 and early 2014 we have worked extensively on health care issues, especially on issues surrounding the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. We held several town hall meetings for the LGBT community and what the new law means for the community and people living with HIV/AIDS.”
Evans pointed out that during the current General Assembly, Equality Maryland has been part of the coalitions working to increase the minimum wage, reform marijuana policy and earned sick leave for workers. “These coalitions portend our commitment to focus on ensuring the ‘ands’ of LGBT lives are addressed,” she says. “We are more than our sexual orientation and gender identity, we are black, immigrant, parents, rural dwelling, disabled, young, and senior citizens and Equality Maryland will work on advocating for the whole of a LGBT person’s identity and issues.”