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Marriage ads to hit Md. airwaves

Pro-Question 6 campaign has purchased more than $500,000 in air time



Martin O'Malley, Governor of Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade, Marylanders for Marriage Equality
Steve Elmendorf, Martin O'Malley, Governor of Maryland, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at a Tuesday fundraiser in D.C.  (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Public records indicate that the campaign to defend Maryland’s same-sex marriage law has purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars of airtime on local television stations ahead of next month’s referendum.

Documents posted on the Federal Communications Commission’s website indicate that Marylanders for Marriage Equality has purchased $297,325 of air time on WBAL in Baltimore for 291 30-second advertisements that are scheduled to run from Oct. 10 through Nov. 6. FCC records further note that the campaign has also purchased $253,000.01 worth of air time on WJLA in D.C. from Oct. 29 through Nov. 6. Marylanders for Marriage Equality has also purchased airtime on WUSA in the nation’s capital, but documents filed with the FCC do not indicate a specific cost.

FCC records further indicate that the campaign has also made inquiries into potential media buys with WJZ in Baltimore and WRC in D.C.

Documents further note that Media Strategies and Research of Fairfax, Va., produced the ads. Josh Levin, campaign director of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, declined to answer questions about their specific content. He stressed, however, that they are part of what he described as the campaign’s ongoing outreach to Maryland voters on Question 6.

“We’ve seen the polls tightening in the public numbers over the last week,” said Levin. “That’s why it’s so important for us to get out on the air and get the message out there. We need to get the message to as many people as possible. That’s what we’ve been asking our supporters to do.”

Levin told supporters in a Sept. 20 e-mail that said the campaign needed to raise $500,000 over the “next two weeks” to counter Question 6 opponents’ ads. He said in the same fundraising pitch that Marylanders for Marriage Equality had only been able to purchase a week’s worth of television air time “in some places so far.” FCC records indicate that the Maryland Marriage Alliance has purchased $93,475 of air time on WBAL for 110 30-second ads that are slated to run from Oct. 8 through Nov. 5. The group has also purchased air time on WMAR in Baltimore.

FCC documents note that Frank Schubert of Mission: Public Affairs, LLC, in Sacramento, Calif., on July 12 requested air time on both WJLA and WUSA. Schubert, who is the national political director for the National Organization for Marriage, masterminded the campaign behind California’s voter-approved Proposition 8 that banned nuptials for same-sex couples in 2008. He also led efforts to overturn Maine’s 2009 law that would have allowed gays and lesbians to tie the knot and to pass a constitutional amendment earlier this year in North Carolina that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

Levin implied that his organization’s Sept. 20 appeal was successful.

“I think you could draw that conclusion,” he told the Blade.


Marriage campaign needs to raise an additional $1 million

Gov. Martin O’Malley said during an Oct. 2 fundraiser for Marylanders for Marriage Equality at the D.C. home of gay Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf that the campaign still needs to raise an additional $1 million before Election Day. He told a group of LGBT bloggers and reporters during a Sept. 24 conference call that Marylanders for Marriage Equality needed an additional $2 million ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

“This is by no means done,” said O’Malley. “And in your presence here tonight, I hope that when you leave here, you leave here committed to help us turn on the after-burners for the next 36 days.”

The D.C. fundraiser took place two days after the Baltimore Sun released a poll that shows 49 percent of likely Maryland voters support the state’s same-sex marriage law, compared to 39 percent who oppose it. A Gonzalez Research poll last week notes that 51 percent of Marylanders would back Question 6, compared to 43 percent who would vote against it.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Ravens center Mark Birk earlier this week spoke out against marriage rights for same-sex couples in an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper in his native Minnesota. He also appeared in a Minnesota Catholic Conference web ad in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman in the state.

“I can put up a lot from the government like higher taxes and while I don’t like it, pushing God out of schools. But letting a small number of business and government elites and judges define what marriage is for Minnesotans doesn’t seem very fair. It doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Birk, who compared a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban to the Iowa Supreme Court decision that led to nuptials for gays and lesbians in the Hawkeye State. “Politicians have said they will try to redefine marriage at their earliest opportunity, even next year if the marriage amendment doesn’t pass. Our culture today of moral irrelevantism attacks marriage and a lot of our Catholic values, but marriage is the foundation of our society and is definitely something worth fighting for — my marriage and the institution itself. A lot of people say live and let live; let everybody do what they want. But this is too important of an issue to do that on. We need to stand up and fight for it and preserve it for our sake, for our children’s sake and for the sake of our entire society. The state should have laws to protect marriage because it was around long before the state came around. I don’t think it’s their place to redefine it.”

Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo continues to speak out in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples in Maryland.

“We should be doing everything we can to make Maryland families stronger, which is why I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples who want to make a lifetime commitment together,” he says in a Marylanders for Marriage Equality web ad. “People from all walks of life, including gay and lesbian couples, want their children to be in stable homes and protected under the law.”

Ayanbadejo is scheduled to attend a Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser with O’Malley in Baltimore on Oct. 8.



HME Consulting and Advocacy stands on frontline of LGBTQ policy

Heidi Ellis is a consultant who doesn’t take clients ‘not aligned with my mission’



‘Even though I am a private consultant … my work is very much mission driven,’ says Heidi Ellis. (Photo courtesy of Ellis)

September is here, which means Congress and the D.C. Council return from their August recess and life for consultant Heidi Ellis quickly gets busy. 

Her days are filled with negotiating with Council members, phone calls with clients, and policy planning for advocacy groups. The organizations she represents are looking to her to help them push policy and she hopes to guide them to victory. 

Ellis’s company, HME Consulting and Advocacy, came after years of working in the public and private sectors as a consultant. In 2019, Ellis decided to shift her focus to work that stood at the center of the intersections in which she lives. She sought to figure out how she could better serve her community as a Black queer Latino woman. Ellis recognized that there was a niche for mission-driven consulting in the District. 

“I was sought out and recruited by a lot of organizations that wanted me and I took a beat, because I was like ‘Do I want to go back into a machine where even if I do effect change, I have to answer to someone?’”she said, in reference to consulting agencies that were in pursuit of her talent. Ultimately, she decided against continuing her work under another company. “By doing what I do, I have much more flexibility for one to say ‘Yes’ but also to say ‘No’.”

Although Ellis has considered going back to working in the corporate space, she still loves the flexibility of being able to be nimble as a private consultant. 

Although Ellis doesn’t work entirely in the advocacy space, her consulting clients still align with her personal values. She joked that she differs strongly from the stereotypical money-driven D.C. consultant who sports Brooks Brothers suits on K Street. 

“Even though I am a private consultant … my work is very much mission driven,” she said. “I don’t take any clients that are not aligned with my mission.”

Her mission is simple, Ellis is “committed to elevating issues that sit at the nexus of education, mental health, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people of color.”

“The more marginalized you are, the more you suffer from the failures of policy and the gaps of service,” she said. 

As a consultant in the advocacy space, Ellis does the behind-the-scenes work for organizations to help correct these policy failures and close the gaps. Whether she is facilitating training for companies to better understand how to serve their LGBTQ communities, or she is on the frontline of education policy changes –– Ellis aims to only do work that she is passionate about.

She said that the balance of her combined passion and level-headedness help her to build trusting relationships with her clients and in the end, “Get stuff  done.”

Since starting her organization, some of her proudest work has been done with the DC LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition. The coalition is made up of more than 30 organizations that aim to advocate for investments and policy changes that affect LGBTQ lives. As a leader of this coalition, her services include policy support, facilitation, training, initiative development and organizational redesign. Since she began leading the coalition, they have raised more than $5 million of investments in LGBTQ programs.

Later this fall, she will work with the DC LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition along with the ANC Rainbow Caucus to convene the first LGBTQ+ Housing Summit from Nov. 29-30.

“The one thing we all recognize is that housing is the common denominator of every other social affliction facing LGBTQ communities,” she said.  

At the summit they will focus on the barriers within the current housing system and explore revitalized approaches to dealing with the current housing market. To pre-register for the event, visit the LGBTQ+ Housing Summit website.

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Comings & Goings

Former D.C. resident opens art gallery in San Francisco



Jonathan Carver Moore

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.

Congratulations to Jonathan Carver Moore on opening his contemporary art gallery in San Francisco. The gallery specializes in working with emerging and established artists who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women. As the only openly gay Black male-owned gallery in San Francisco, Moore is committed to amplifying the voices of the often-underrepresented artists through a Black queer lens. He said, “I want the gallery to be a place where the LGBTQ+ community and people of color walk inside and see themselves knowing that they belong. I want us to be able to collect work from and support underrepresented artists who are often overlooked, but add some much value to our culture.”

Moore is also the founder of ARTUCATED, a digital journal that helps share, spotlight, and educate people about marginalized artists. Previously he was director of Donor Relations, Partnerships & Programming Director with the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco. He was Communications Manager, Rosenberg Foundation; and Associate Director of Public Relations, Out & Equal, San Francisco Bay Area. 

Moore earned his bachelor’s in Sociology, Women’s Studies, from George Washington University in D.C.; and his master’s in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communications, also from George Washington University.

Congratulations also to Jim Bobick on having his paintings included in a permanent collection by Saks Fifth Avenue. He said, “I am thrilled Saks Fifth Avenue chose my art for its permanent collection. I have long been a customer of the store and an admirer of the fashion designers represented there. I am especially pleased to know my work is on public view in the Chevy Chase, Maryland store. Not only did I grow up in the area, for part of my education I attended art school nearby, where I had the good fortune of studying under the notable painter Allen Dester Carter of Washington, D.C., whose work is in the Smithsonian collection. My ties to the Washington area art scene and my love of Saks makes this professional moment especially important to me. I am grateful and honored the store chose my paintings for their collection.” 

He has had numerous exhibitions of his work, including: Gallery 101 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (solo); Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs, Fla. (group); Studio B “Delicacies” Washington, D.C. (group); Columbia Art Center “Abstract Paintings” (solo); and Gallery 50 “Freestyle” (solo) Rehoboth Beach, Del. He has been written about in several publications including Michael Mills, Jim Bobick Creates Landscapes of the Mind at Gallery 101, New Times; Arterpillar South Florida Arts Blog; Stefan Braham, Eclectic Expressions, Coastal Style Magazine; Artist Looks Beyond the Temporal Beauty, Coast Press.

He earned his bachelor’s in Visual Arts, University of Maryland, College Park, Fine Art; and attended the Maryland College of Art and Design. 

Jim Bobick
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Arts & Entertainment

2023 Best of LGBTQ DC Readers’ Choice Award Finalist Voting

Vote for your favorite finalists through October 2nd!



It is time to celebrate the best of LGBTQ+ DC! You nominated and now we have our finalists. Vote for your favorites in our 2023 Best of LGBTQ DC categories through October 2nd. Our 2023 Best of LGBTQ DC will be announced at the Best of LGBTQ DC Awards Party on October 19th and our special issue will come out on Friday, October 20th.

Thank you to our sponsors: ABSOLUT, Heineken, PEPCO, Shakers, Infinite Legacy.



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