Equal rights organizations are joining forces today at 11 a.m. at Baltimore City Hall to launch a coalition that seeks to secure marriage equality in Maryland during the 2012 legislative session. The organizations comprising Marylanders for Marriage Equality are Equality Maryland, Progressive Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union, Communication Workers of America, Service Employees International Union, the Human Rights Campaign, and Freedom to Marry.
According to a press release issued by HRC, "press conference will include coalition members, state and local elected officials, Maryland couples who are currently being denied access to marriage equality and clergy leaders who support the freedom to marry."
During the 2011 legislative session, Equality Maryland was able to get a marriage bill past the Senate floor, but it ultimately died on the House of Delegates floor after the bill was recommitted, by the House Chairman Joseph Vallario (D-Calvert, Prince George's), back to committee for further discussion. News of the press conference comes after several months of difficulties for Equality Maryland. In April the organization's board voted to remove its executive director. At the end of June Equality Maryland unveiled its six-month strategic plan to stabilize the organization after announcing that the organization was in the midst of a financial crisis.
[UPDATE: According to a press release issued by Progressive Maryland, a statewide coalition of representatives from over 50 religious, community, and labor organizations will join Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other elected officials at the event. From the release:
“The basic thread of any family is love, and Maryland should honor that love and the commitment of the thousands of gay and lesbian families who are seeking what we all seek: to protect our families,” said Progressive Maryland Executive Director Rion Dennis.
“We’re proud to be working with such a broad and diverse coalition of groups to secure marriage equality in Maryland” said Lisa Polyak, chair of Equality Maryland.
“While there are many social justice issues my congregants face, I feel compelled to include this issue, the issue of civil marriage equality, as one we work to tackle from a faith perspective,” said Rev. Denis Wiley of Covenant Baptist Church.Wiley, a Prince George’s County resident, draws a significant number of residents from Prince George’s Country to his church. “Some of the strongest families I’ve seen in my congregation are families headed by gay and lesbian couples. They should be able to go to city hall and get a marriage license.”]
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