Metro Weekly

Equality Maryland to Honor Governor O’Malley

Equality Maryland to pay tribute to LGBT rights legacy of outgoing governor at its annual Signature Brunch

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley

Equality Maryland, the Free State’s major LGBT rights organization, will honor outgoing Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley for his contributions to LGBT equality, both as the former mayor of Baltimore and as governor, at its annual Signature Brunch, which serves as the organization’s largest fundraiser, on Sunday, Nov. 16.

O’Malley, who has been touted as a possible presidential candidate and who has come under heavy criticism after his lieutenant governor, Anthony Brown, lost the race to replace him as the state’s chief executive last Tuesday, has had a longstanding record of standing up for LGBT rights during his political career. Under O’Malley’s mayorship, Baltimore became the first jurisdiction in Maryland to prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals. As governor, he signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination against transgender employees, and later advocated on behalf of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, a bill passed earlier this year that prohibits anti-transgender discrimination statewide. He also championed a marriage equality bill in 2012, encouraging legislative leaders to pass the law, and, later, the voters of the state to uphold it via a ballot initiative.

“As Governor O’Malley leaves office, he has left a legacy of fairness and equal treatment under the law,” said Tim Williams, an at-large member of Equality Maryland, Inc.’s Board of Directors who called O’Malley’s advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community “remarkable.”

Asked whether last Tuesday’s election results had been a rebuke of the O’Malley administration’s policies, Williams said, “The election was not about us — certainly not about marriage or the transgender bill — those issues were not raised in the campaign. It was really a race between Mr. Hogan and Mr. Brown.”

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Furthermore, Williams added, Equality Maryland’s political action committee was successful, getting nearly 94 percent of its endorsed candidates elected or re-elected, resulting in a more liberal and pro-LGBT Democratic caucus in the legislature. He also pointed to outgoing Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Howard, Carroll counties), a Republican who supported the transgender rights bill and the marriage equality bill, and was elected Howard County Executive.

“Senator Kittleman was not held back by his support of those measures; in fact, he probably gained support in Howard County because of that,” Williams said.

Sunday’s brunch honoring O’Malley will take place at the Bethesda North Marriott at 12:30 p.m., following a VIP reception and silent auction at 11 a.m. The event, emceed by journalist Derek Valcourt from Baltimore’s CBS affiliate WJZ, will feature entertainment from local LGBT performers and various tributes to O’Malley from LGBT people whose lives were improved as a result of his advocacy.

Equality Maryland’s Signature Brunch honoring Gov. Martin O’Malley will take place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott, 5701 Marinelli Rd., Rockville, Md. Tickets cost $125 per person and can be purchased online. For more information, visit equalitymaryland.org/signaturebrunch.

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