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New effort to win marriage underway in Md.

‘We are not considering civil unions’

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Del. Mary Washington (center), a lesbian member of the Maryland House of Delegates, announced plans for a new marriage bill at a news conference Tuesday. At left is Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. (Washington Blade photo)

BALTIMORE — A diverse coalition of organizations announced plans Tuesday to push for a same-sex marriage bill in Maryland during the 2012 legislative session, which begins in January.

Led by Progressive Maryland, the coalition is dubbed Marylanders for Marriage Equality and includes Equality Maryland, the Human Rights Campaign, ACLU, Service Employees International Union 1199, Maryland Catholics for Equality and a number of other religious organizations.

Coalition members gathered at a sweltering morning news conference in front of Baltimore’s City Hall to announce their plans, just weeks after New York’s legislature approved a marriage equality measure.

“I believe in equality for all Baltimoreans,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “Baltimore will continue to stand with you in Annapolis.”

Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Mont. Co.), when asked by the Washington Blade whether the coalition would consider a civil unions bill in lieu of marriage in the event of a referendum threat, said unequivocally that civil unions are an unacceptable compromise.

“It is marriage and only marriage — we are not considering a civil unions bill,” said Madaleno, the only openly gay member of the state Senate. “We will win a referendum if it gets that far.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley did not attend the news conference, but has said since 2007 that he would sign a marriage equality bill if the legislature can pass it. Del. Maggie McIntosh, a lesbian and the most senior member of the LGBT Caucus in the House of Delegates, said the coalition is in talks with O’Malley about taking a more visible and public role in advocating for the bill. O’Malley was criticized by some marriage rights supporters earlier this year for his perceived lack of visibility on the issue, which comes in stark contrast to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is widely credited with championing the issue in the Empire State.

McIntosh said marriage equality supporters have asked O’Malley to include the bill in the administration’s 2012 legislative package and that an answer on that request could come within weeks.

“The governor and the delegates have had discussions about this recently,” O’Malley spokesperson Raquel Guillory told the Blade after the news conference. “He is supportive of the new push and we are reaching out to a broad coalition of folks and discussing what steps we take next.”

Guillory didn’t say whether O’Malley would include the marriage bill in his administrative package.

“The governor was very clear last year that he would sign a marriage bill if it crossed his desk and that position has not changed,” she said. “He remains supportive.”

Asked why O’Malley didn’t attend today’s news conference, Guillory said, “This was an event organized by the delegates and [Rich] Madaleno —  this was their event, it wasn’t the governor’s announcement.”

She added that the difference between the successful New York effort and the very visible role Cuomo played in it and O’Malley’s approach to the issue is merely a matter of style.

“You’re focusing on one issue,” she said, “you need to look at the personalities of the individuals. [Cuomo] is not much more out there [on marriage], he’s more vocal about everything, it’s a matter of style.”

She added that O’Malley “did a lot behind the scenes to work this bill,” and that taking Cuomo’s approach “doesn’t ensure passage.”

A marriage equality bill failed in the House of Delegates in March after the Senate approved it. Multiple factors were cited for its failure, including opposition from conservative black pastors in Prince George’s County and a vigorous and well-funded campaign by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage to derail the bill.

But supporters noted that they had little time to plan last year, because the bill was bottled up in committee until a sudden reshuffling of committee assignments in December resulted in its Senate passage.

“I’m incredibly optimistic this time,” said lesbian Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Mont. Co.). “Last year, we were caught off guard; this year we have more time to plan.”

Responding to speculation that the bill could be introduced at a special October legislative session on redistricting, Mizeur said that the bill would most likely be considered in January.

Guillory said the focus of the October special session would be on redistricting. “Other options could be put on the table, but our focus is to take care of the redistricting issue,” she said.

Del. Peter Murphy (D-Charles Co.), who came out in an interview with the Blade earlier this year, echoed Mizeur’s confidence.

“I’m very optimistic,” Murphy said, “there is a tremendous effort and organization behind this and I’m confident the citizens of Maryland will support it.”

Rion Dennis, executive director of Progressive Maryland, vowed that Maryland would become the nation’s seventh state to enact marriage equality. His group is leading the marriage coalition. Sultan Shakir, an HRC employee who was loaned to Equality Maryland during the legislative session to work on marriage, is now working with Progressive Maryland.

Equality Maryland fired its executive director after the 2011 legislative session and its board chair later resigned. The group has been plagued by financial and staffing problems, but one board member said Tuesday that things are turning around.

“We have a six-month plan in place and are back on sound financial footing,” said Equality Maryland board member Mark Yost. “We look forward to working with the coalition to bring marriage to all Marylanders.”

Yost said Equality Maryland is planning to hire a new executive director but declined to say when that would occur.

In addition to politicians and activists, the Tuesday news conference highlighted the plight of two lesbian couples from Maryland. Kalima Young and Francine Housier joined Chris Megargee and Barbara McKeefery in addressing the media and taking about the importance of marriage equality to them and their families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Molly Kirkland

    July 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Strange but I am pretty sure that all of these groups were already involved this year. It is fine to try to get people excited and “launch” a campaign, but it seems disingenuous to act as if none of this happened this year. There are lessons to be learned for sure, but let’s not act like folks did not work hard and get pretty far this year! Let’s hope that everyone in this coalition will truly work together and not just fight for turf and credit. THAT is what it will take to get things done!

  2. Jared

    July 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Why isn’t the log cabin republican group a member? They were EXTREMELY effective in New York. We need them!

  3. Peter Rosenstein

    July 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I read this column with interest and hope for a win in Maryland. What seems to be missing from the Maryland fight is a real leader and the Office of the Governor. It is time for Martin O’Malley to step up to the plate and be on the right side of history. He should do what Andrew Cuomo did and focus on the second word-equality- rather than on the first one marriage if that makes it easier for him. This is about civil law that he has sworn to protect. It isn’t enough to stand on the sidelines and say you will sign a bill. Hopefully Governor O’Malley will show some courage between now and the announcement of his legislatitive agenda and include a bill on Marriage-equality in his agenda. Then this coalition should actually come together in a new group as the various entitites in NY did, and make sure that the goal isn’t who can claim victory, but rather the victory itself. Then this press conference can be reheld where it belongs in the firstplace in front of the statehouse in Annapolis. I look forward to this happening and to Maryland being the 7th jurisdiction that approves marriage-equality.

  4. RockyMissouri

    July 12, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I applaud EVERYONE and wish them every success! I support gay rights with my vote and my donations….! It is the RIGHT THING TO DO…. TO SUPPORT OUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS AND FAMILY.

  5. Laughriotgirl

    July 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    marriage – while trans people are still the legal inferiors to gays in the state… maybe once all the gays are off on their honeymoons actual civil rights work can begin for the trans population.

  6. Syd Diamond

    July 12, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    NOM will easily block any attempt at same-sex marriage in Maryland since it has a massive amount of money and the ability to mobilize parishioners of the mega-churches in Maryland/DC. Where exactly is the money going to come from to fight the veto referendum? My GAYTM is closed until I see a solid plan.
    How about organizing groups of gays in each district in order to better pressure their local Delegate? I called my Delegate during the same-sex marriage fight and the lady who answered the phone said I was the only one who called who supported same-sex marriage. Yet when I logon to sites like Adam4Adam and Grindr I get pages and pages of men who live in the same area I do. There has to be better grassroots organization.

  7. javier

    July 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Since any gay marriage law passed by the legislature would have to be approved by the voters, it would be foolish to push for it passing right now, knowing that it will almost certainly be repealed by voters. And yes, it is pretty obvious that voters would repeal it. Easily.

  8. Syd Diamond

    July 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    There was a great article in the Washington Post yesterday about how opponents to the Maryland Dream Act (immigrant-tuition) used a very simple website to gather over 100,000 signatures to put this law on hold. They did it with very little money and no national organization helping. The man, who only spent $2,500 on his successful campaign, stated that he is ready to collect signatures to stop same-sex marriage should it pass. It will be easy since people who are anti-immigrant are most likely anti-gay.

    Same-sex marriage is certain to go to the voters.

  9. Dpdc

    July 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I hope it does not pass again. Marriage should between man and woman.

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Comings & Goings

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Troy Cline, gay news, Washington Blade
The 'Comings & Goings' column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Shin Inouye, gay news, Washington Blade
Steven McCarty

Congratulations to Steven McCarty on being named president of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. He said, “I’m honored to be installed as the president of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. and to be able to shepherd our programs and volunteers to impact youth where they are needed most. Our club’s new partnership with SMYAL has already turned a portion of their Youth Center in Southeast D.C. into the first Clinical Services Department in the District that offers free and affirming mental healthcare to LGBTQ Youth. As an openly gay man, I’m proud to further our club’s mission with radical empathy and inclusion.” McCarty has also recently been awarded Kiwanis’ highest honor, the George Hixson award.

McCarty is a Technical Program Specialist at stac labs in D.C. He is also founder and campaign manager at Abolish Racism 2020. He worked as a Senior Customer Success Manager,  Crowdskout. He was a workplace equality intern at Human Rights Campaign and a summer fellow at Michigan State AFL-CIO, in Lansing, Mich. 

McCarty earned his bachelor’s in Political Science and Communications Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Congratulations also to Shin Inouye on his appointment as Executive Vice President of Communications, The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund. 

Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund said, “We are thrilled Shin Inouye will be taking on even greater responsibilities on our senior leadership team. His incredible talent and commitment to this organization and our work are truly outstanding, and his strategic leadership will no doubt continue moving us forward in the fight to protect and advance civil and human rights.”

Inouye has held a number of positions with the organization including Managing Director of Communications. Inouye also held a number of high-level positions in the Obama administration, including Press Secretary and Acting Senior Adviser for Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Adviser for Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Executive Office of the President; White House Office of Communications: Director of Specialty Media; and served as an authorized spokesperson for the Obama Inaugural Committee, with a focus on specialty media outlets, including LGBTQ, AAPI, Native American, Youth/College, Faith, and Jewish press. Prior to that Inouye was Communications Director in the Office of Congressman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and has also worked for the ACLU and as a summer intern with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. 

Inouye received a number of honors including being named One of 25 “LGBTI next generation leaders to watch” by Out in National Security and the Atlantic Council; and One of “40 Asian American Pacific Islander National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leaders” by New America and the Diversity in National Security Network.

Shin Inouye
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Youngkin reiterates opposition to marriage equality

Va. gubernatorial candidate says issue ‘legally acceptable’ in state

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(Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Glenn Youngkin in an interview with the Associated Press has reiterated his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Youngkin—a Republican who is running against Democrat Terry McAuliffe to succeed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam—said in an interview published on Friday that he feels “called to love everyone.” Youngkin then reiterated his opposition to marriage equality before he added it is “legally acceptable” in the state.

“I, as governor, will support that,” Youngkin told the AP.

McAuliffe was Virginia’s governor from 2014-2018.

Same-sex couples began to legally marry in Virginia a few months after McAuliffe took office.

McAuliffe in 2014 became the first governor of a Southern state to officiate a same-sex wedding. The lesbian couple who McAuliffe married recently appeared in one of his campaign ads.

McAuliffe on Friday criticized Youngkin. “As governor, I worked my heart out to keep Virginia open and welcoming to all,” said McAuliffe in a tweet. “This type of bigotry and intolerance has no place in our commonwealth.”

The anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has categorized as an extremist group, earlier this month endorsed Youngkin, but Log Cabin Republicans are among the groups that have backed his campaign. The Human Rights Campaign in 2019 named Youngkin’s former company, the Carlyle Group, as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” in its annual Corporate Equality Index.

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D.C. school board calls for LGBTQ-inclusive teaching standards

Sweeping resolution proposing content in curricula approved unanimously

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Gay State Board of Education member Allister Chang.

The D.C. State Board of Education voted unanimously on Oct. 20 to approve a resolution calling for LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education Standards for the city’s public schools that “reflect on the political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific contributions and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”

The two-page resolution, which was introduced by gay State Board of Education member Allister Chang, who represents Ward 2, cites national research showing that students who have access to LGBTQ+ curricula in their schools “are more likely to report lower frequency of bullying, lower levels of depression, more accepting peers, and greater feelings of safety in school.”

The resolution states that research also shows that multicultural education, including the teaching of LGBTQ topics, “helps prevent the formation of bias and prejudice and creates more democratic communities.”

LGBTQ rights advocates have long considered the local D.C. government through its mayor and City Council to be highly supportive of the LGBTQ community. But Chang and other supporters of the resolution approved by the board Wednesday night say their research shows that D.C. public schools, while supportive of LGBTQ students, are far behind the school systems in several other states in the inclusion of LGBTQ topics in school curricula.

As an example, supporters of the resolution point out that curriculum standards for social studies classes in the D.C. school system include only one mention of LGBTQ people in a teaching section related to victims of the Holocaust.   

Unlike most other cities and states, under current D.C. law, the school system is controlled by the mayor through the D.C. Department of Education, which is headed by a Deputy Mayor for Education and who, in turn and in consultation with the mayor, appoints a State Superintendent of Education who oversees the day-to-day operations of the schools.

Under a change in the education statute approved by the D.C. Council and signed by then-Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2007, the school board, which was renamed the State Board of Education, became a mostly advisory body on education matters with some statutory authority to approve education standards on which school curricula are based.

Thus, the resolution approved by the board on Wednesday “advises” and “recommends” that the State Superintendent of Education develop school curricula, guidance for teachers, and school-based leaders and staff “in providing LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons and practices in their classrooms.”

The resolution concludes by recommending that the State Superintendent of Education conduct a survey of students within two years after the Oct. 20 adoption of the resolution “to establish baseline data and to gain an understanding of the current experiences of LGBTQ+ students across the district and what all students know and understand about the contributions and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the relevant subject areas.”

Chang and other members of the State Board of Education noted at the Oct. 20 meeting, which was virtual, that Will Beckerman, who graduated this year from D.C.’s School Without Walls High School, played an important role in conducting the research used to prepare the LGBTQ standards resolution and helped in the drafting of the resolution.

Chang noted that much of the background information used to draft the resolution came from Beckerman’s senior year school research paper and advocacy project that focuses on the topic of LGBTQ-inclusive education.

In comments supporting the resolution, Chang also spoke about how the very limited LGBTQ content he encountered during his high school days helped him accept himself as a gay youth.

“As a student myself, I don’t remember a single mention of any LGBTQ people in any of my classwork until I read Thomas Mann in my senior year in high school,” Chang said. “And in Death in Venice, this Nobel Prize winner touches upon his struggles with homosexuality but never actually names it explicitly,” Chang told fellow board members.

“And I remember holding on to this novella despite the self-hatred that’s woven throughout this story because it was the first time that I saw this aspect of my identity reflected in my class work,” he said. “My hope – and I think this hope comes true with this resolution tonight – is that future generations of LGBTQ students have more opportunities to see themselves reflected in their class work and to feel less isolated by their class work than I did growing up.”

It couldn’t immediately be determined whether D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will endorse the school system changes proposed by the resolution approved by the State Board of Education.

The full text of the resolution follows:

State Board of Education Resolution

On LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education Standards

SR21-7

WHEREAS, the 2019 District of Columbia Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual students make up 15.9 percent of high school students in the District and transgender students make up1.9 percent of District high school students;

WHEREAS, in the District, these students, in comparison to their heterosexual peers, experience double the rate of bullying on school property, report higher rates of being removed from class for disciplinary reasons, and are more than twice as likely to experience suicidal ideation;

WHEREAS, national data shows that lesbian, gay, and bisexual students are significantly more likely to receive grades of D or F than their heterosexual peers and were more likely to be truant;

WHEREAS, consistent research suggests that students with LGBTQ+ inclusive curricula in their schools are more likely to report lower frequency of bullying, lower levels of depression, more accepting peers, and greater feelings of safety in school—and this safety leads students to report higher attendance, higher GPAs, a greater sense of belonging in the school community, and higher educational aspirations;

WHEREAS, research shows that multicultural education helps prevent the formation of bias and prejudice and creates more democratic communities ; 

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education recognizes the need to have revised social studies standards that create “windows and mirrors” so students see themselves and people like them reflected in the content of standards and curriculum, as well as having the opportunity to learn about diverse people, cultures, places, and experiences unlike themselves—explicitly noting that the current standards emphasize the lives of presidents and other figures who held/hold power and under-represent or lack representation of people and groups like those identifying as LGBTQ+, and their respective histories;

WHEREAS, in the State Board of Education’s review and revision of the social studies standards, the State Board called upon the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to “seek standards writers who reflect the demographics and experiences of District students and of the communities they are writing about” sharing a list of examples that included writers identifying as LGBTQ+;

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education is committed to ensuring students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be engaged global citizens in a diverse democratic society; and,

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education has a commitment to promote equity, introduce policies to reduce disparities between students, and create safe school environments for all students.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, upon the next revision of any District of Columbia state education standards, the State Board of Education should adapt standards, when appropriate, that reflect on the political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific contributions and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education advises the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to provide guidance to teachers and school-based leaders and staff on creating inclusive lessons in science and English language arts (ELA) classes that align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core ELA standards, respectively;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education recommends that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) implement professional development for teachers and school-based leaders and staff to aid them in providing LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons and practices in their classrooms, such that that the professional development includes: workshops for local education agencies (LEAs) and teachers to draft curriculum related to LGBTQ+ topics in their subject areas, lessons on use of inclusive language in the classroom, lessons on ensuring LGBTQ+ students’ safety and confidentiality while maintaining respect for their name and pronouns, and mandatory diversity training related to the LGBTQ+ community; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education recommends that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) survey students within two (2) years of adoption of this resolution to establish baseline date and to gain an understanding of the current experiences of LGBTQ+ students across the district and what all students know and understand about the contributions and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the relevant subject areas.

https://osse.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/osse/publication/attachments/2019%20DC%20YRBS%20Report.pdf

Brikett, Michelle et al. “Sexual-orientation disparities in school: the meditational role of indicators of victimization in achievement and truancy because of feeling unsafe.” American Journal of Public Health vol. 104, 6 (2014): 1124-8. doi: 10.2105/AJHP.2013.301785

Kosciw, Joseph G., et al. “The 2019 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth in Our Nation’s Schools.” GLSEN, GLSEN, 2020, glsen.org.

Camicia, Steven P. Critical Democratic Education and LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum: Opportunities and Constraints. Routledge Focus, 2016.

Camicia, Steven P. “Prejudice Reduction through Multicultural Education: Connecting Multiple Literatures.” Social Studies Research and Practice, vol. 2, no. 2, 2007, pp. 219–227.

socstrpr.org/files/Vol%25202/Issue%25202%2520-%2520Summer%25202007/Action%2520Research/2.2.6.pdf

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