Author Topic: Equality Maryland update - LBGT Marriage Issues  (Read 2173 times)

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Offline ChefAnnagirl

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Equality Maryland update - LBGT Marriage Issues
« on: January 25, 2006, 05:27:19 pm »
Thursday, January 23, 2006                       

Contact: Dan Furmansky, Executive Director
Phone:    301-587-7500
Cell:       301-461-4900

Religious Leaders Convene in Annapolis to Show Broad Opposition to Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment

240 Maryland Clergy from Eleven Denominations Say “It’s Not Moral” to ban Marriage and Legal Protections for Same-Sex Couples

ANNAPOLIS – In a show of support that challenges the public’s stereotypical impressions of religious leaders, Maryland clergy convened in Annapolis this morning to advocate in favor of gay-rights efforts.  These religious leaders – from many faith traditions – oppose the proposed Maryland constitutional amendment banning any legal protections for gay and lesbian couples, calling this legislation immoral and an example bad public policy. 

"It is vitally important to show Marylanders that people of faith also believe in equal rights and equal protection under the law for all, including families headed by same-sex couples," said Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, Pastor of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church, where Lisa Polyak and Gita Deane, lead plaintiffs in a marriage lawsuit against the state, are members. "This is an ongoing dialogue, and social progress on this issue may take time, but we are committed to changing hearts and minds, and we will persevere."

Religious leaders held a press conference at 9:45 a.m. at the St. Anne’s Episcopal Parish Hall.  Equality Maryland, the state’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, worked with clergy to coordinate the event.  After the press conference, participants delivered to the General Assembly a letter from 240 clergy across the state that oppose the amendment.  The signatories represent varied denominations and faiths, including American Baptist, United Methodist, Roman Catholic, Unity Fellowship, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Quaker and Unitarian Universalist, as well as Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism.

Speakers at the Press Conference included:

Ron Halber, the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, the government relations and public affairs branch of the Jewish community of Greater Washington, representing more than 210 jewish agencies, organizations and synagogues.
Rev. Dr. John R. Deckenback, the Conference Minister for Central Atlantic Conference United Church of Christ
Reverend John Crestwell, who serves as co-minister at Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church in Camp Springs.
Rev. Anthony McCarthy, Associate Pastor of Unity Fellowship Church, Baltimore. 
Rev. Deacon Meredith Moise, Deacon of Saint Sebastian Contemporary Catholic Community, Baltimore and Field Organizer at Equality Maryland.

"A marriage license from the state confers no religious blessing, there is no religious requirement for obtaining a marriage license and, in fact, 40% of legal marriages in Maryland are performed by a clerk of the court or judge,” said Equality Maryland Executive Director Dan Furmansky.  “While these clergy would undoubtedly perform a marriage for a same-sex couple, no matter what happens in this state on this issue, clergy will always have the constitutional right to refuse to perform a marriage with which they disagree, and that’s just the way it should be.


Equality Maryland is Maryland’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, focused on making life better for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens of Maryland. Equality Maryland works to secure and protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Marylanders by promoting legislative initiatives on the state, county and municipal levels and educating the public about the issues faced by our diverse community.

Equality Maryland can be found online at .

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From: Dan Furmansky
To: M. AnnaMarie Arnow

Dear M. AnnaMarie,

Across the country, right-wing legislators have been attacking the rights of lesbian and gay citizens through so-called "Defense of Marriage" amendments to state constitutions.  They have already succeeded in passing these amendments in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon and Utah.

Will Maryland be next?  It will if Republican Delegate Don Dwyer of Anne Arundel County has his way.

Click here to tell your legislators to vote against amending the Maryland constitution.

Delegate Dwyer has introduced "Maryland’s Marriage Protection Act" (House Bill 48). This legislation is a constitutional amendment than bans more than just marriage between same-sex couples. It also states that: "a civil union or relationship between parties of the same sex, by whatever name or title, that confers the benefit of marriage is not valid in this state and is against the public policy of this state."

This amendment would ensure that Marylanders with a partner of the same sex have no protections at all in the law, whether it's the ability to take Family and Medical Leave to care for a sick partner or entitlement to inherit social security and disability benefits upon the death of a spouse.

Click here to learn more about the proposed amendment.

Proposals to amend the state constitution require passage by three-fifths of the legislators in both Houses of the General Assembly and ratification by voters on the November 2006 ballot in order to succeed.  Fighting this amendment at the ballot box would require a huge amount of resources for our community.

We cannot take any votes for granted.  Click here to help stop this amendment in its tracks.

Thank you.

Dan Furmansky
Executive Director

p.s.  After you send your message you will have an opportunity to help us spread the word and get more people involved in this campaign.  Let's flood Annapolis with fairness!  Let as many Marylanders as possible know about this legislation and the critical need to speak out against it.

Level the playing field


Re: Equality Maryland update - LBGT Marriage Issues
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2006, 03:52:02 am »
now this is an interesting turn of events . . . gosh, I sure hope they make some headway . . .