Brown told the Washington Blade on Sunday during a telephone interview that Hogan has been “very clear that he does not support marriage equality,” even though his Republican rival for the governor’s office has previously said he would not seek to repeal the law if Maryland voters next month elect him to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley.
“It’s not enough for a candidate, a would-be governor to say that they won’t seek to repeal the law,” said Brown. “There very well may be issues that emerge regarding the full protections and rights and benefits and privileges of same-sex Maryland couples. We want to know there is a governor who is going to aggressively enforce and fully fund if necessary those measures to ensure that marriage equality is a true privilege and benefit in Maryland.”
Brown also criticized Hogan for opposing the state’s trans rights law that took effect on Oct. 1.
“Among some voters there’s some concerns about sort of protecting the gains, protecting the win,” Brown told the Blade. “Larry Hogan presents a fundamentally different alternative and approach to many of the issues important to not just the LGBT community, but the community at large.”
Brown in March testified in support of the bill — the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 — during a Maryland House of Delegates committee hearing. He told the Blade in a previous interview that he spoke with “a number” of lawmakers about the issue and “coordinated my efforts” with Equality Maryland.
Attorney General Doug Gansler, who challenged Brown in the Democratic gubernatorial primary alongside lesbian Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County), said Equality Maryland “traded” its early endorsement of the lieutenant governor for his support on the trans rights bill. Carrie Evans, the group’s executive director, denied the claim.
“I take my lead from the community,” Brown told the Blade. “My values are one of fairness, equality, inclusion and recognizing the riches of Maryland’s diversity.”
Brown spoke with the Blade two days before he and Hogan squared off in their first televised debate the Baltimore Sun and WJZ co-sponsored.
A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released on Monday shows Brown ahead of Hogan by a 47-38 percent margin. A Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies survey conducted earlier this month showed the lieutenant governor was ahead of his Republican rival by only four points.
“Clearly this is a competitive race,” Brown told the Blade.
Hogan’s campaign has not responded to the Blade’s multiple requests for an interview.
Gansler, Mizeur back one-time rival
Brown in June easily defeated Gansler and Mizeur in the contentious Democratic gubernatorial primary. The lieutenant governor told the Blade that his former rivals have attended several “Democratic Party unity rallies” in recent weeks. Gansler is also scheduled to headline a fundraiser for Brown’s campaign later this month. Brown told the Blade that Mizeur has also “worked with him on policy issues.”
“Not withstanding the competitiveness of the primary, we’re doing what each of us pledged to do during the primary, which is to unite behind the Democratic nominee so that we can ensure victory in November,” said Brown.
Mizeur did not return the Blade’s request for comment. Gansler told the Blade he has attended “a number of unity events” across the state to “make sure that the Democratic base is energized for the election.”
“People have to be reminded that we’re Democrats first,” he said.
Gansler told the Blade that he and Brown talked about the economy, taxes, the environment and higher education during a recent lunch. The outgoing attorney general said he is not “formally” advising his one-time rival on specific policy issues.
“I have no formal advisory role,” said Gansler.
Brown stressed that Maryland Democrats remain united going into next month’s general election.
“We’re excited about where the campaign is,” he said.