Martin O'Malley Hub

Building The War Chest For Marriage Equality In Maryland

220px-Martin_O'Malley_2010Last week, Marylanders for Marriage Equality announced an almost impossibly star-studded fundraising banquet to be held on September 13th. The guest list: Susan Sarandon, Sean Avery, Barbara Bush, Josh Charles, Thom Browne, Andy Cohen, Tom Colicchio, Julianne Moore, Edward Norton, Hilary Rhoda, Russell Simmons, John Waters, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianna Margulies, Keith Lieberthall, Cornelia Guest, Kathleen Keener, Paul Boskind, Tonio Burgos, Brian Ellner, Ryan Greenwalt, Charles Myers, Ken Mehlman, Charles John O'Byrne, Larry Poston, David Rabin, Johnny Swet, and Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley (pictured right). Wow!

The banquet's venue isn't in Maryland, probably because it's easier to move the banquet to its various VIPs than to move all the VIPs to Maryland. It's in SoHo, in Manhattan: the extraordinary James Hotel. Tix run from $250 a head to $25,000 for a top-shelf sponsorship package.

In November, Maryland may become the first state in the country to affirm marriage equality in a ballot referendum. Along with Maine and Washington, it'll be the first state to put marriage to the vote since Barack Obama and the NAACP came out in favor of equality. From the New York Times:

"The two biggest factors for us this year are that it’s 2012, and public attitudes have continued to evolve,” said Josh Levin, the director of Marylanders for Marriage Equality. “When the president talked about how his position has evolved over the course of some years, there are a lot of people for whom that’s the case.”

The ballot language will also be different in Maryland. In the other 32 states where voters have been asked about the issue, the referendum question was phrased so that a vote in favor of the measure was a vote to reject same-sex marriage. In Maryland, ballots will ask the question in the affirmative and will explain that there will be an exemption for religious groups.

Eight Added to Speaker Roster at Democratic National Convention

Eight new leaders have been added to the list of those speaking at this year's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, CNN reports:

HarrisAdded Monday were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as President Barack Obama's chief of staff for the first two years of his presidency; Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who won the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination; Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who acted as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and is running for U.S. Senate.

Also on the list: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

As I noted earlier, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is slated to deliver the keynote address, and former President Bill Clinton is set to enter Obama's name into nomination.

The convention convenes in two weeks.

Rachel Maddow Talks to Maryland Governor O'Malley About Marriage Equality, Ballot Measures: VIDEO


Rachel Maddow interviewed Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley last night in an extended segment on the recent marriage equality victories around the country and the ballot referendums which are challenging them, including information on a recent Maryland poll that shows voters split on the marriage equality issue.


BrownMeanwhile, the AP reports on the election year showdowns on marriage equality in North Carolina, Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington state and the "bruising battle" underway.

"It's crunch time," said Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, the paramount fundraiser for opponents of gay marriage. "We view it as a massive opportunity for a national referendum."

Brown predicts same-sex marriage will be rebuffed in all five states, while gay-marriage supporters hope they can score at least a few victories and break a long losing streak. Since 1998, 31 states have had ballot measures related to same-sex marriage, and in every state the opponents ended up prevailing.

However, the most recent vote was in 2009. Gay-rights activists believe public opinion is moving inexorably in their direction, citing both national polls and policy developments such as repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

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Maryland Governor O'Malley to Sign Marriage Equality Bill Today

Governor Martin O'Malley will make Maryland the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage when he signs a marriage equality bill today, the Baltimore Sun reports:

OmalleyGov. Martin O'Malley is set for a victory lap today when he signs into law his hard fought measure to legalize same-sex marriage. The signing is set for 5 p.m. in the State House.

There will be waiting, however:

But even with the governor's signature, same-sex couples won't get Maryland marriage certificates until the law goes into effect in January 2013 -- at the earliest.

Fired-up opponents have pledged to collect 100,000 signatures opposing the bill by June 30 -- about twice what they would need to trigger a state-wide referendum on the topic. On Wednesday several powerful groups joined forces to accomplish that goal. Polls show that Marylanders are evenly split on the issue -- so there's no telling what will happen in November.

Maryland Governor to Sign Marriage Equality Bill on Thursday

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley will make Maryland the eighth state to recognize same-sex marriage this Thursday, the AP reports:

OmalleyThe governor is scheduled to sign the legislation in a 5 p.m. ceremony Thursday, making Maryland the eighth state to legalize same-sex unions.

Said O'Malley after last week's Senate passage: "All children deserve the opportunity to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home, protected equally under the law. The common thread running through our efforts together in Maryland is the thread of human dignity; the dignity of work, the dignity of faith, the dignity of family, the dignity of every individual. Thanks to our elected leaders, clergy and faith-based leaders, community leaders, civic organizations, civil rights groups, and citizens from across our state, Maryland will now be able to protect individual civil marriage rights and religious freedom equally."

On Friday, Delegate Neil Parrott filed paperwork on behalf of opponents to bring the measure to a voter referendum. Opponents must collect 55,736 signatures to get it on the November ballot. Parrot promised to double that number.

Maryland Governor O'Malley Says House Still Short on Marriage Equality Votes: VIDEO


At a rally last night before an evening of lobbying lawmakers, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley told marriage equality supporters they still need a few votes in the House to pass the measure.

The AP reports:

Gov. Martin O’Malley, who spoke to the crowd of hundreds, said he still needs to collect the votes of “a couple” of lawmakers in order to move the bill through the House of Delegates.

“We need a couple more votes and people always make their decisions against deadlines,” O’Malley told reporters after the rally. “The bill has been heard in the House and is likely to move.”

The governor said he didn’t want to make any presumptions about when the bill could come before the full chamber, but said he expects it could move out of committee as early as this week.

Watch a WJZ report on the rally, AFTER THE JUMP...

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