I am writing in response to the editorial on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s remarks at the OutGiving conference held in Chicago. I know many LGBT Marylanders were disheartened to hear the governor declare his belief that our state is not ready for full marriage equality. I beg to differ. In addition to the recent Washington Post poll, which found that a majority of registered voters support extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, Equality Maryland also commissioned a poll in the fall with a plurality of Marylanders standing behind equal protections for LGBT couples.
While his recent comments are disappointing, it is important to point out that Gov. O’Malley has a long history of supporting our community. As mayor of Baltimore, he signed into law anti-discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity or expression in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. As governor, he has signed several relationship recognition bills into law, as well as a bill specifically protecting LGBT students.
Recently, O’Malley directed state agencies to comply with Attorney General Doug Gansler’s opinion recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages and has made multiple public statements in support of the opinion. The governor has also publicly committed to signing a marriage equality bill when it passes.
We certainly can and should expect that our governor is in stride with the current times and the growing momentum behind equal protections in both his words and his actions. The funny thing is that if O’Malley openly and unequivocally claimed all that he has done on behalf of the LGBT community, this would be a very different conversation.
Without access to civil marriage equality here at home and comprehensive statewide anti-discrimination laws, a large number of Marylanders are not being treated fairly under the law.
The election is less than six months away and we must continue to thank those who have stood by our side in the past, including Gov. O’Malley, while also pushing them to continue to work with us to realize true and lasting equality for all of Maryland’s families.
— Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director, Equality Maryland