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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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Delaware

Delaware governor vetoes legalization of marijuana possession

Carney cites impact on youth, public health, law enforcement

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Delaware trans student policy, gay news, washington blade
Delaware Gov. John Carney vetoed a bill that would have legalized the possession of marijuana. (U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

Delaware Gov. John Carney on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have legalized the possession of marijuana in the First State. House Bill 371, which passed the House on May 5 and the Senate May 12, would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and remove criminal and civil penalties associated with the non-remunerative transfer of marijuana for individuals ages 21 or older.

“I do not believe that promoting or expanding the use of recreational marijuana is in the best interests of the state of Delaware, especially our young people,” Carney said in his veto statement Tuesday. “Questions about the long-term health and economic impacts of recreational marijuana use, as well as serious law enforcement concerns, remain unresolved.”

Current state laws deem the possession of one ounce of marijuana or less a civil offense resulting in a financial penalty. Still, the possession of more than one ounce of marijuana remains a misdemeanor — a designation that would remain unchanged with the passage of the bill.

In the statement, Carney acknowledged that marijuana can help individuals with certain health conditions, and said that possession and private consumption of the substance should not lead to imprisonment. But he also noted that these beliefs are already reflected in state legislation, following his passage of marijuana decriminalization in 2019.

“I have been clear about my position since before I took office, and I have articulated my concerns many times,” he added.

The Delaware Center for Justice called upon the General Assembly to override the veto in a Tuesday press release, emphasizing that legalizing marijuana is of particular importance to low-income communities and communities of color across the state. 

These communities “experience police harassment and arrest for marijuana at disproportionate rates than those of white affluent communities, despite usage rates being almost the same,” DCJ Director of Policy Kailyn Richards noted in the press release. She added that DCJ believes state legislators should further “pass a companion bill that sets up a safe and legal marketplace.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware also emphasized that the General Assembly should override the veto.

Carney’s veto of the bill “is an affront to the lawmakers, advocates, and residents of Delaware who have shown consistent and overwhelming support for this measure,” Mike Bichner, ACLU of Delaware executive director, said in a statement Tuesday. “The criminalization of cannabis has been a tool of the failed, racist War on Drugs, which has caused irrevocable harm to our Black communities.”

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Rehoboth Beach

Vandals target 2 Rehoboth Beach LGBTQ-owned businesses

Staff discovers graffiti on walls, doors

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Vandals targeted the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach on Monday. (Photo courtesy Purple Parrot)

Freddie’s Beach Bar and the Purple Parrot — two LGBTQ+ bars and restaurants in Rehoboth Beach — discovered that their establishments had been vandalized on Monday, according to a series of posts to the Purple Parrot’s Facebook page made by Hugh Fuller, the restaurant’s owner.

The vandal, whose identity remains unknown, painted on the walls and carved graffiti into the mirrors of the Purple Parrot’s bathroom, and painted graffiti on the front door of Freddie’s Beach Bar, the posts recounted. The establishments have since filed police reports with the Rehoboth Police Department.

Tony Rivenbark, a manager at Freddie’s, said that a staff member first noticed the vandalism around 10:30 a.m. on Monday, and that it was dry to the touch, leading restaurant management to believe it was painted early in the day. Upon discovering the graffiti, restaurant staff reported it to local police and were told that other nearby locations had similarly been vandalized, he said.

Between its Rehoboth and Arlington, Va. locations, Rivenbark has worked at the establishment for almost two decades, and added that this was the first instance of vandalism at the Rehoboth venue, which has been open for less than one year. He noted that Freddie’s management is currently reviewing security footage for further information, and is likely to soon install additional security cameras.

At the establishment’s Arlington, Va., location, “we’ve had some minor spray painting done, we’ve had some rocks thrown at windows,” he recounted. “Mostly I have attributed it to drunken antics, not so much hate. Hopefully that’s the case here as well.”

Rivenbark added that Freddie’s staff remains positive despite the circumstances. “It doesn’t seem like a huge issue. It’s something we’ll probably just paint over tomorrow,” Rivenbark said. “I’d much rather it be some kid that’s got a new little airbrush … than it being somebody that’s targeting LGBT businesses.”

The Rehoboth Beach Police Department declined to comment or to confirm details of the reports filed.

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District of Columbia

Pride Run returns after two-year hiatus

1,500 participants to join 10th annual event on June 10

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The Pride Run 5K is back after COVID hiatus. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

After a two-year pandemic hiatus that saw the Pride Run go mostly virtual, the DC Front Runners Pride Run 5K is elated to once again welcome nearly 1,500 runners, walkers, volunteers, and spectators back to the Historic Congressional Cemetery for their Tenth Anniversary Race on Friday, June 10.

As an official Capital Pride Partner Event, the Pride Run 5K kicks off Capital Pride weekend with a bang. Well perhaps more of a “On your mark, get set, GO!” 

Join us as we run, walk, skip, shantay, and sashay on a course that starts near the cemetery’s “Gay Corner” where many LGBTQ rights activists, such as Leonard Matlovich, are interred. The race then winds along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail to finish where you started.  

Gates open at 5 p.m. for packet pickup with the race beginning at 7 p.m. The post-race party includes beer and hard seltzer provided by DC Brau along with a DJ playing music until 9 p.m. Be sure to check out the return of the DCFR dance troupe performing to a hyped-up crowd. 

Race proceeds benefit the following local LGBTQ and youth-supporting organizations via the Pride Run Foundation: Ainsley’s Angels (National Capital Region), Casa Ruby, Team DC Student-Athlete Scholarship, SMYAL, The Wanda Alston Foundation, The Blade Foundation, and Teens Run DC. You can help support these amazing charities by registering for the race or donate directly at DCPrideRun.com.

A special thanks to the presenting sponsors, Capital One Café, Choice Hotels, KNEAD Hospitality + Design, Shake Shack, and Wegmans Food Market to the premier sponsors DC Brau, Pacers Running, and Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, and our elite sponsors, AHF Healthcare Centers, Avalon Bay Communities, Casey Trees, Endorphin Fitness, and Starbucks, and of course our special partner the Historic Congressional Cemetery. Last, but not least, a big thank you to all individual donors who contribute via the race website directly to our incredible charity partners. Together, we proudly celebrate who we are in a festive, safe, and inclusive event.

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