Throughout the history of the LGBT community geographic places have taken on meaning for us like military battles to history. We can go through the litany of names like Anita Bryant in Dade County, California and Proposition 8, Massachusetts ruling on marriage equality, Wyoming and Matthew Shepard and the White House fence. We are about to add another name to the list in our epic battle for freedom.
Last week the Maryland State Senate voted for marriage equality in a bill that now proceeds to its Assembly where a tough battle awaits it for approval. If it passes the Assembly, Governor Martin O'Malley will sign the historic piece of legislation. Now here is the rub in this exciting moment. The action of the State Legislature can be put to a referendum by collecting a mere 60,000 plus signatures. The earliest the election could be held would be November, 2012.
You can count on those signatures being gathered and this issue appearing on the ballot. What can make the difference for us winning this referendum? Here are a few of the many things that need to be done.
1. Our national organizations must immediately line up the unshakeable and unmistakable support of President Obama. Voters love him in this state especially in vote rich Prince George's County and Baltimore. We cannot wait to the last minute for his support. We should ask for Ms. Obama to campaign for us in the state. Remember in California our opposition used the President's statement that marriage is between a man and a women against us. We can't be outmaneuvered twice.
2. Millions of dollars from our community and our friends flowed into California in the battle against Proposition 8. Unfortunately a good deal of it was at the last moment and thus harder to use effectively. We must give now to Equality Maryland and other organizations like Freedom to Marry and Friendfactor who are already working hard in the state. Early money is essential. Don't wait until they have to beg us for it. Just send some now.
3. Universities up and down the East Coast should start making plans to send busloads of straight and LGBT students into Maryland and canvas door to door.