I want to thank all of you for being here this morning. There is a broad coalition. Many of its members are arrayed on the steps here with me. And they are all supportive of the bill that was introduced last night on civil marriage equality in the state of Maryland.
All of us want the same thing for our children. Marylanders of different religious beliefs, Marylanders of all walks of life all want the same things for our children. We want our children to live in loving, stable committed households that are protected equally under the law.
We also believe that we can protect religious freedom and rights equally under the law. Other states have found a way to do this. We can find a way to do this too. And that common ground that allows us to move forward is dignity, the human dignity of every single person.
This is a broad coalition that is supportive of this bill, including Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition, which now includes the Baltimore NAACP, the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Family Equality Council, Catholics for Equality, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, Maryland Faith for Equality, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland, PFLAG, NOW, and Progressive Maryland and Equality Maryland and many others.
Yesterday we submitted a marriage equality bill which balances equal protection of individual rights with the important protection of religious liberty and religious freedom. This is a broad based array of Marylanders that support this bill. Just this month we also welcomed the support of the AFL-CIO and SEIU 1199, which I think is the largest healthcare union in the entire country. And the momentum is growing and there’s a lot of hard work to do. But we are going to be successful in this legislative session by recognizing the dignity in one another and recognizing the common humanity that all of us share.
In this great state that celebrates its diversity as our strength, we choose to be bound together by a common thread, and that common thread is human dignity. It’s what allows us to look in the eyes of every child in our state and say that this child is a child of God and that this child is worthy of the protection of the laws equally that all of us come together to support in order to make our state a better place, a more just place, a more caring place.