Equality Maryland has an event slated for Wednesday in which several local elected officials will be honored including Gov. Martin O’Malley who said in July that getting a same-sex marriage law passed next year is among his legislative goals.
Dubbed “Celebrate and Honor,” it will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Chevy Chase Town Hall (4301 Willow Lane in Chevy Chase) with cocktails and presentations. Aside from O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman will be honored.
Lisa Polyak, interim board chair for the organization, said the board decided whom to honor and was in agreement in its decisions. The organization has typically held a gala-type event but scaled back this year as it attempts to stabilize the organization after the departure of former director Morgan Meneses-Sheets, whom they fired in April after a disappointing 2011 legislative session that saw a marriage bill fail.
O’Malley, criticized by some Maryland gays for previously supporting civil unions over marriage, changed his tune after a marriage bill passed with strong gubernatorial support this year in New York. Did the board fear some criticism would emerge for their decision to honor O’Malley so quickly when for years he did little to help their cause?
Polyak said no.
“I think it’s a good idea to honor people who come out publicly in their support and pledge to put the strength of their office fully behind us,” she said.
Tickets are $50. Sponsorship levels are available ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Go to equalitymaryland.org and look under “events” for details.
Polyak said Equality Maryland has stabilized in recent months. She said the organization is operating in the black again after a shaky start to the year and a full board — bylaws say the C-4 arm can have 15 members — by month’s end. Many qualified candidates have applied for the executive director position, she said, which they hope to fill “no later than November.” She credits the five current board members for “working their fingers to the bone” to stabilize the organization this summer.