LGBT rights advocates this week said Maryland’s same-sex marriage and transgender rights laws will remain on the books once Gov.-elect Larry Hogan takes office in January.
Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, told the Washington Blade that “almost all the advances made” under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration required action from the General Assembly that remains under Democratic control after the Nov. 4 election.
“The governor does not have the unilateral power to repeal these laws,” said Evans. “Equality Maryland is confident the hard-fought wins like marriage equality and the Fairness for All Marylanders Act are secure.”
Gay state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) agreed.
“There was certainly no indication that I heard of during the campaign from the new governor-elect that he was looking to somehow roll back marriage or the transgender bill,” the Baltimore City Democrat told the Blade on Monday during a telephone interview. “We’ll be sure to be vigilant against any attempt to do anything.”
Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director Dana Beyer expressed concern that Hogan may try to cut funding for social programs under his budget. She nevertheless said he would not try to repeal the same-sex marriage or trans rights laws.
“Larry Hogan is not going to try and repeal anything,” Beyer told the Blade. “He can’t do that anyway.”
Hogan on Nov. 4 stunned political observers when he defeated Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown by a 52-47 percent margin.
Brown throughout the campaign highlighted his support of marriage rights for same-sex couples. The lieutenant governor noted to the Blade during multiple interviews that he testified in support of the trans rights law that took effect on Oct. 1.
Hogan told the Baltimore Sun ahead of the June primary that he opposes the trans rights law. He said during an interview on News Talk with Bruce DePuyt in August that his position on same-sex marriage had “evolved,” noting he would not seek to repeal Maryland’s gay nuptials law that voters approved in a 2012 referendum.
Hogan during the campaign focused almost exclusively on the state’s economy and taxes in spite of Brown’s efforts to portray him as an extremist on gun control, reproductive rights and other contentious social issues.
Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, told the Blade on Monday that Hogan’s campaign “contacted” him before he announced he would not challenge the state’s gay nuptials law.
Angelo was critical of those who feel Hogan may seek to repeal the marriage and trans rights laws.
“The only reason some in the LGBT community are ‘concerned’ about Governor-elect Hogan’s positions on marriage rights and workplace protections is because Democrats in Maryland shamefully employed beyond-the-pale fear-mongering during the campaign that laughably attempted to paint Hogan as some sort of social-issue extremist,” Angelo told the Blade. “Clearly the voters didn’t buy it.”
Hogan spokesperson Erin Montgomery declined to comment to the Blade.
“I’m going to be the governor for all Marylanders,” the governor-elect told reporters during a post-election press conference in Annapolis on Nov. 5.
Both Angelo and Clippinger told the Blade they have not spoken with Hogan since the election.
“I’ve never met him, never talked to him and so I’m going to reserve judgment,” said Clippinger. “I’m not going to be somebody who presumes anything about him until I get the change to visit with him, talk with him a little bit.”
Equality Maryland – which endorsed Brown’s campaign — will honor O’Malley at its annual brunch that will take place at the Marriott Bethesda North Hotel in Rockville on Nov. 16.
Evans told the Blade that her organization has invited Hogan to attend.
“We are awaiting a response,” she said.