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O’Malley: Maryland marriage campaign needs to raise another $2 million

Governor spoke to LGBT bloggers and reporters on Monday

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Martin O'Malley, gay news, gay politics dc

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said on Monday that the campaign to defend his state’s same-sex marriage law needs to raise another $2 million ahead of the Nov. 6 referendum.

“We’re continuing to raise every day in every way, but I really want to make it clear here that we have the ability to pass this in Maryland,” he told LGBT reporters and bloggers from across the country during a Marylanders for Marriage Equality conference call. “It is keeping with the character of our state. It will protect rights equally under the law while protecting religious liberty. That’s why our state was founded to begin with, but we do need to raise money here. We do need to raise another couple of million dollars, and if we’re able to do that I believe that we will pass this. And raising those dollars is critically important for our ability to be able to defend this at the ballot.”

Josh Levin, campaign director of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, told the Washington Blade in June that he was confident he could run what he described as a “winning campaign” with between $5 and $7 million. He once again declined to provide an exact figure as to how much money his group has raised.

“I would say we are far along to our goal,” said O’Malley. “We are beyond the 50-yard line and we continue to move forward, not back.”

The governor spoke to bloggers and reporters a day before gay former “American Idol” contestant Adam Lambert is scheduled to headline a Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser at the 9:30 Club in Northwest Washington. He is also slated to attend a separate event with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray at gay Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf’s Logan Circle home on Oct. 2.

O’Malley also spoke at a star-studded New York City fundraiser for Marylanders for Marriage Equality on Sept. 13.

“We’ve been raising money for the campaign,” he said. “We’ve been organizing for the campaign and I believe that we have the ability if we can raise some more money to be able to be the first state or one of the first four states to pass this and to be able to defend this at the ballot.”

O’Malley also spoke three days after Rev. Al Sharpton and other prominent black clergy publicly urged Maryland voters to support the state’s same-sex marriage law in the November referendum during a D.C. press conference. Reverend William Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, and other ministers of color simultaneously blasted President Obama’s support of nuptials for gays and lesbians as they spoke with reporters in Arlington, Va.

The governor acknowledged that Question 6 opponents will soon begin to run ads against the referendum in Maryland — Levin conceded in a Sept. 20 fundraising pitch to Marylanders for Marriage Equality supporters that the campaign has only been able to purchase a week’s worth of television air time “in some places so far,” compared to the four weeks of commercial time on stations across the state that he said those who oppose Maryland’s same-sex marriage law have already bought. O’Malley said he further he anticipates anti-Question 6 ads will seek to either exploit what he described as divisions between black and gay Marylanders, convince voters that the passage of the same-sex marriage law will mean that “every child in Maryland will somehow be taught they need to be gay” or persuade them that the ballot language will somehow dupe them.

O’Malley echoed Levin who said the ballot language is one of the campaign’s biggest advantages going into the referendum.

“I’m excited about this campaign,” said O’Malley. “All indications are, especially after the courageous statements by President Obama and the very skillful way that the Democratic National Convention wove marriage equality and the Dream Act into the fabric of human dignity that the people of Maryland will choose to move forward and not back. And that we will in fact pass this and defend it on election day.”

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Maryland

Protests interrupt Moms for Liberty meeting about removing books in Howard County schools

Guest speaker led book-removal campaign in Carroll County

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Gabriella Monroe holds a poster that says 'Ban Bigotry Not Books' outside Howard County’s Central Branch library in Columbia on Feb. 26, 2024 (Photo by Sam Mallon for the Baltimore Banner)

BY KRISTEN GRIFFITH | When a Howard County chapter of Moms for Liberty wanted to learn how to remove books from schools, they were met with a swarm of protesters sporting rainbow colors and signs looking to send the message that such actions are not welcome in their district.

The conservative parents’ group met Monday night at Howard’s Central Branch library in Columbia to brainstorm how they could get books they deemed inappropriate out of their children’s school libraries. Their guest speaker for the evening was Jessica Garland, who led a successful book-removal campaign in Carroll County. The Howard chapter wanted the playbook.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Rehoboth Beach

Former CAMP Rehoboth official pleads guilty to felony theft

Salvatore Seeley faces possible jail time, agrees to reimburse $176,000

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Salvatore “Sal” Seeley, who served as an official at the Rehoboth Beach, Del., CAMP Rehoboth LGBTQ community center for 20 years, has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of Theft In Excess of $50,000 for allegedly embezzling  funds from the organization for at least a two-and-a-half-year period, according to a Sussex County, Del., Superior Court indictment and a spokesperson for the Delaware Office of the Attorney General.

The spokesperson, Mat Marshall, sent the Blade a copy of the indictment, which he said was handed down against Seeley on Feb. 27 and which provides the only specific court information that the Washington Blade could immediately obtain.

“Salvatore C. Seeley, between the 27th day of February 2019 and the 7th day of September 2021, in the County of Sussex, State of Delaware, did take property belonging to Camp Rehoboth, Inc., consisting of United States currency and other miscellaneous property valued at more than $50,000, intending to appropriate same,” the indictment states.

“I can further confirm that the Defendant entered a guilty plea to one count of Theft in Excess of $50,000,” spokesperson Marshall told the Blade in an email message. “Mr. Seeley also agrees to make restitution of $176,199.78 to CAMP Rehoboth,” Marshall said. “He will be sentenced on April 5 and does face the possibility of prison time.”

Marshall declined to provide additional information on the findings of the law enforcement investigation into Seeley’s alleged theft. The restitution figure of $176,199.79 suggests investigators believe Seeley embezzled at least that amount from CAMP Rehoboth during the time he worked for the organization.

Seeley couldn’t immediately be reached for comment

CAMP Rehoboth describes itself as a nonprofit LGBTQ community service organization and the largest organization of its type “serving the needs of LGBTQ+ people in Rehoboth, greater Sussex County, and throughout the state of Delaware.” The statement adds that the organization “is dedicated to creating a positive environment inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities in Rehoboth and its related communities.”

Kim Leisey, who began her job as executive director of CAMP Rehoboth in July of 2023, said it was her understanding that officials with the organization discovered funds were missing and opened an investigation in September of 2021, a short time before Seeley left the organization. Leisey said that at the time of his departure, Seeley served as CAMP Rehoboth’s director of health and wellness programs. 

At that time, former D.C. Center for the LGBT Community director David Mariner was serving as CAMP Rehoboth’s executive director and reportedly took steps to open an investigation into missing funds. Wesley Combs, CAMP Rehoboth’s current board president, said Seeley resigned from his job around that time in 2021.

“I know that I took this job knowing there was a concern and a problem and an investigation,” Leisey told the Blade. “And I also know that the board of CAMP Rehoboth has done everything it needs to do to ensure that we were compliant, cooperative and that things are going really well here at CAMP Rehoboth.”

Leisey said CAMP Rehoboth currently has a staff of six full-time employees and several contract employees. She said the organization has a current annual budget of $1.4 million.

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District of Columbia

Capital Pride announces 2024 Pride theme

‘Totally radical’ a nod to 80s and 90s

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Capital Pride Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos, on left, announces this year's Pride theme at the Pride Reveal party on Thursday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Capital Pride Alliance on Thursday announced this year’s Pride theme is “totally radical.”

The organization made the announcement at Penn Social in Downtown D.C.

“Capital Pride’s 2024 theme celebrates the courageous spirit and unwavering strength and resilience that defined the LGBTQ+ community during the transformative decades of the 1980s and ‘90s,” said Capital Pride Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos. “It’s about embracing our authenticity, pushing boundaries and advocating for a world where everyone can live their truth without fear or discrimination.”

Capital Pride on Thursday announced this year’s Pride parade, which will take place on June 8, will begin at 14th and T Streets, N.W., and end at Pennsylvania Avenue and 9th Street, N.W.

The Capital Pride Block Party and Family Area will once again take place on 17th Street in Dupont Circle. A Tea Dance will also take place on Constitution Avenue, N.W., near the end of the parade. 

The Capital Pride Festival and Concert will take place on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., on June 9.

Capital Pride has also launched a campaign to raise $1.5 million for a new D.C. LGBTQ community center. 

WorldPride will take place in D.C. in 2025. The event will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Pride events in the nation’s capital.

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