November 21, 2014 at 9:22 am EDT | by Steve Charing
Equality Maryland board chair dies at 43
M. Scott Bowling, gay news, Washington Blade

M. Scott Bowling (Image courtesy YouTube)

M. Scott Bowling, a longtime LGBT advocate and board chair of the political arm of Equality Maryland, Inc., died at the age of 43 in the Hospice of the Chesapeake in Annapolis on Nov. 19 after battling several life-limiting illnesses, including Crohn’s Disease.

Bowling created a blog, itgutsbetter.org, to raise awareness of those who suffer from the disease and need small bowel transplants and chronicling the struggles they endure physically, mentally and financially.

Bowling was born and raised in Prince George’s County and, according to Equality Maryland’s website, he was an attorney with the Department of Defense and served as president of the Metro Maryland Ostomy Association, Inc. in Silver Spring.

In 2006, Bowling became the first openly gay candidate to run for the State Democratic Central Committee in Anne Arundel County. In 2009, he sought a seat as a Republican on the Annapolis City Council representing Ward 3. He narrowly lost that election in which he alleged that it was tainted by homophobia citing an anonymous and illegal flier circulated around the ward targeting African American voters. Bowling stated that the flier contained specific references to his being “homosexual.” It warned that electing such a person would be dangerous to children.

“I am disappointed that in 2009 there are factions within Annapolis that insist on engaging and bringing this type of racist and hate filled activity into our city elections,” Bowling told Baltimore OUTloud at the time. He filed complaints to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office as well as a Maryland Attorney General’s office as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Bowling had also been appointed to and served on several public boards and commissions.

While suffering with his health, Bowling, Equality Maryland’s website stated, continued to be an active member of the leadership team at Equality Maryland.

“He had arranged several fundraisers, secured commitment for items for [last Sunday’s] Silent Auction— all from his bed. Prior to entering in-patient hospice care, Scott volunteered at the polls during early voting.”

His efforts earned him the initial M. Scott Bowling Courage Award. The award was presented at the hospice on Nov. 11 by Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland along with several members of the staff and board members as well as former Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen.

A video of the presentation was shown at Equality Maryland’s Signature Brunch, which honored Gov. Martin O’Malley as well as Bowling. He was able to watch that part of the program, which included a musical performance by Troy Koger and remarks by Bowling’s husband David Miller.

Bowling and Miller married in Washington D.C. in July 2010.

“Anybody that knows Scott knows he lived with chronic illness most of his life and absolutely refused to be defined by that illness,” Miller told the Capital Gazette.

On her Facebook page, Evans posted, “Tonight I lost a dear friend. I am trying to remember that I have only lost his physical presence because I can never lose the presence he has in my heart. Scott leaves me a better person than he found me. He has left me with the lessons of how to fully live your life — every single minute; and what it means to love the life you have and the people in it and to keep on fighting even when, and especially when, you want to stop. My dear Scott, may we always remember all that you gave us.”

Miller told the Blade that donations in Scott’s memory can be made to any of the following: Equality Maryland, the Metro Maryland Ostomy Association, Evolve Chesapeake or Chesapeake Creation Spirituality Community. Plans for a celebration of life memorial service have not been finalized.

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