Today Equality Maryland joined our sister organizations in New York, California, Washington, Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine and filed an amicus curiae brief in the US v. Windsor case. This case challenges Section 3 of the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" and will be heard by the Supreme Court on March 27, 2013.
"There are thousands of married same-sex couples in Maryland who are significantly injured by DOMA. This unfair federal law disqualifies these Maryland couples from a wide-range of federal rights and benefits that opposite-same sex couples are afforded, comments Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Equality Maryland. She continues, "This brief shares some of the real-life stories of married gay and lesbian people harmed by DOMA. When loving same-sex couples take on the responsibility and commitment of marriage it’s wrong for the federal government to discriminate against them."
For Immediate Release
November 7, 2012
Carrie Evans, Executive Director (m) 443-514-4999
Organization Elated That Same-Sex Couples Have the Protections of Marriage
Baltimore – Today the majority of Maryland voters upheld The Civil Marriage Protection Act. In response to this historic moment, Equality Maryland Board President David Lublin and Executive Director Carrie Evans made the following statements:
“Tonight the citizens of Maryland made history by voting to uphold the Civil Marriage Protection Act. By allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry, Maryland becomes the first state in the United States to approve marriage equality in a popular vote,” Lublin said. “Maryland once again upholds is nickname as the Free State – where citizens are free to love regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”
“With this vote, Marylanders rose up and declared that that every family deserves to be treated equally under the law,” Evans said. “Voters from every corner of the state, from every political persuasion, every race and every religion voted for marriage equality.”
“This campaign started in 2004 when LGBT couples sued for the right to marry. We lost that legal battle, but eight years later we won the support of the General Assembly and of the majority of Maryland voters.”
“This victory is a testament to the power of broad coalitions and thousands of supporters. With scores of religious and faith, civic, political, labor, business and civil rights organizations working together, we were able to appeal to the hearts and minds of Marylanders and achieve victory. A special thanks needs to be given to the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland (ACLU-MD), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for their immense contributions to the campaign. Their support was instrumental to ensuring that we had a winning campaign. Equality Maryland applauds the thousands of supporters whose tenacity over the years and months is a testament to the ability of like-minded people to create social change. “
“And throughout this campaign, we have been fortunate to have Governor O’Malley as our leader, championing our cause here at home and across the country. The Governor helped lead the Civil Marriage Protection Act through the General Assembly and remained our top supporter during this referendum campaign. His passion for fairness never wavered and he worked as hard as any paid staff or volunteers on ensuring Question 6 won.”
Baltimore, Md. – Equality Maryland is pleased to partner with The Whiskey, Annapolis’ premier bar and rock club, and three terrific local bands to present ROCK THE REFERENDUM, a special concert to benefit marriage equality. Featured bands include Sweet Leda, Mama’s Black Sheep, and Frenamie.
Sweet Leda vocalist Julie Cymek explained the band’s support for marriage equality: “Sweet Leda loves love. In fact, we feel so strongly about supporting same-sex marriage that we actually wrote a song called “Let Her Love Her,” which features Jay Crawdads of the band Higher Hands. I know there are many musicians out there who feel the same way, and I encourage them to shout it from a nearby mountaintop!” (“Let Her Love Her” can be heard at the band’s website and downloaded on iTunes.)
For Baltimore-based duo Mama’s Black Sheep, marriage equality in Maryland holds personal significance. The duo, comprised of Ashland Miller & Laura Cerulli, had to leave their home and travel to D.C. to be legally married in 2011. “This really is a matter of treating all Maryland families fairly,” says Cerulli. “We are honored to be a part of this event, and hope that in bringing people together through music we can raise both the funds and awareness needed to ensure Marylanders cast a “FOR” vote for marriage in November.”
“We are very excited to work with these bands to promote equality for all Marylanders,” said Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Equality Maryland. “We know that the local music fans are overwhelmingly supportive of marriage equality, and ROCK THE REFERENDUM is a terrific way to engage them as we prepare to defend marriage equality at the ballot box.”
ROCK THE REFERENDUM will take place on Friday, September 28 at 9:00 pm (doors open at 8:00 pm). Tickets are $25, and all proceeds will go towards defending marriage equality in the November referendum. Tickets can be purchased at eqmd.org/rock
Equality Maryland: www.eqmd.org
The Whiskey: thewhiskeyannapolis.com
Sweet Leda: www.Sweetleda.com
Mama’s Black Sheep: www.mamasblacksheep.com
May 16, 2012
Equality Maryland is proud to announce the selection of new leadership for both its foundation and advocacy boards, providing continued energy and enthusiasm for the movement to provide equal rights to all individuals and families in Maryland.
David Lublin is the new President of Equality Maryland Board of Directors. Stephanie Bernstein is the new President of the Equality Maryland Foundation Board of Directors.
Lublin and Bernstein will lead an organization that presided over the historic passage of the Civil Marriage Protection Act and will work to ensure that the law is enacted on January 1, 2013.
"I'm honored and excited to become President of Equality Maryland at such an important time for LGBT rights. ” Lublin said. “The work underway by Equality Maryland and our Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition partners is so vitally important to thousands of Marylanders and their families. Maryland needs to uphold marriage equality and pass the gender identity non-discrimination bill to make sure that all families our state are protected and live in dignity."
“I am thrilled to be working with my fellow board members as the new President of the Equality Maryland Foundation,” Bernstein said. “We have a historic opportunity this year to sustain the Civil Marriage Protection Act passed by the Maryland General Assembly and to make sure that the gender identity non-discrimination bill passes in the 2013 session of the General Assembly. Every citizen of the State of Maryland deserves the same rights and protections under the law.”
For more information and bios of EQMD Board members, click here.
BALTIMORE, April 24, 2012 — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a groundbreaking ruling on April 20, 2012 that declares Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender employees. Until this ruling, federal courts had not consistently ruled that transgender employees were protected in Title VII.
"The EEOC ruling affirms the common sense notion that people should not be discriminated against in the employment context because of who they are," said Executive Director Carrie Evans. "I hope this ruling provides Maryland’s General Assembly with the confidence to pass a state law that prohibits discrimination not only in employment but housing and public accommodations during the 2013 Session.”
The National Transgender Discrimination Survey published in in 2011 found widespread discrimination experienced by Maryland’s transgender community.
- 71% reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job
- 42% experienced an adverse job action
- 17% were denied a home or apartment
- 54% were verbally harassed or disrespected in places of public accommodations or provision of services, including hotels, restaurants, public transportation and government agencies.
Baltimore County Adds Protections for Transgender Individuals
Equality Maryland applauds the Baltimore County Council for passing Bill 3-12 that adds gender identity and expression to county law prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, financing and education.
“We commend Councilman Quirk for his leadership on this important measure along with his four colleagues who voted “yes” – Councilmembers Vicki Almond, Kenneth Oliver, Cathy Bevins and John Olszewski,” said Owen Smith, field organizer at Equality Maryland. He continues, “This common-sense law will allow transgender people residing and visiting Baltimore County to live their lives with more security and peace.”
Smith and Equality Maryland played a critical role in helping pass this legislation. This included activating Equality Maryland members in Baltimore County to contact their Councilmembers and to testify before the Council, providing assistance to the bill sponsor and garnering support from business leaders.
Maryland House of Delegates Passes Marriage Equality Bill
February 17, 2012
With Major Hurdle Cleared, Marriage Equality Supporters Prepare for Vote in Senate
ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland House of Delegates voted in favor of House Bill 438, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which allows committed gay and lesbian couples to marry in the state. The measure, which is a cornerstone of Governor Martin O’Malley’s legislative agenda this year, now moves to the Senate, where it cleared the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee late last month.
“Today’s vote is a huge step forward for all of us working to make marriage equality a reality in Maryland,” said Sultan Shakir, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition. “There’s a lot of work left to do, but momentum continues to grow – and quickly.”
Passage in the House, where a marriage equality bill stalled last year, is seen as a major milestone in this year’s push to pass marriage equality.
“We want to thank the Delegates who cast votes today in favor of equality for LGBT families in our state, and our Senate supporters who laid the path last year that made this day possible. Their unwavering commitment has helped bring us one huge step closer today to marriage equality in our great state,” explains Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Equality Maryland. “If last year taught us anything, it’s that you can’t take any vote for granted, but we’re cautiously optimistic.”
“1199 SEIU members stand with our Delegates who voted for marriage equality. Their vote makes Maryland and all its working families stronger,” said Ezekiel Jackson of 1199 SEIU.
“History was made today,” said Melissa Goemann, legislative director of ACLU of Maryland. “Delegates protected religious liberty while allowing for equal protection under the law for same-sex couples and their families.”
“Committed gay and lesbian couples and their children are on the road to being protected equally under the law due to the efforts of the House today,” said Kate Planco-Waybright, interim executive director of Progressive Maryland.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality is the coalition—including 1199 SEIU, Equality Maryland, Progressive Maryland, Human Rights Campaign, ACLU of Maryland, and others—working to bring civil marriage equality to Maryland.
On January 23, 2012 the Baltimore City Council voted 14-0 to pass a resolution urging members of the Baltimore City delegation to the General Assembly to help secure the passage of legislation seeking to provide equal access to marriage for same-sex couples.
Equality Maryland applauds the members of the Council for standing up for all families. Special thanks to Councilman Jim Kraft for his leadership on this resolution.
Senate Bill 241 and House Bill 438 would amend state law to allow for marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples. Additionally, these measures will preserve the religious freedom and liberty of churches and places of worship.
Equality Maryland is excited to announce the hiring of a new Executive Director to help lead the organization into one of its most important years.
Carrie Evans returns to Equality Maryland after serving as the organization's Director of Policy and Planning from 2007-2009. Evans, an attorney, currently serves as a policy analyst for the Baltimore's Housing Department and as adjunct faculty for the Gender and Women's Studies department at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Evans has previously worked as the state legislative director at the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Reflecting on the news of an Evans appointment, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley stated, "I look forward to working with Carrie, Equality Maryland, and the broad coalition of committed groups and individuals as we work to pass marriage equality in the upcoming legislative session."
"We are tremendously excited about Carrie's hiring," said Lisa Polyak, Acting Chair of Equality Maryland, Inc. "Given her political acumen and history of work in Maryland, we are confident that Carrie's leadership will place us in the strongest possible position to pass marriage equality and transgender anti-discrimination bills and defend them in a referendum."
Evans comments, "I am honored to return to Equality Maryland - an organization that is critically needed to ensure LGBT Marylanders and our families are treated fairly. There is much to be done. I look forward to working with our partners in the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition and in the transgender community, as well as every individual in our state who supports Equality Maryland and our mission."
"With the recent addition of 16 accomplished individuals to the Boards of Directors, our organization has regained the energy and enthusiasm needed to achieve and preserve legislative success," Polyak added.
Equality Maryland and Equality Maryland Foundation announce the appointment of sixteen new members to the organizations' Boards of Directors. New Directors were selected after an extensive vetting and interview process completed by a ten-member Nominations Committee.
"We were extremely pleased by the number of highly qualified and diverse candidates who submitted their application for a board appointment," said Senator Richard Madaleno, co-chair of the Nominations Committee. "The varied experiences the new board members bring to the table will make Equality Maryland a strong, stable force for equality once again in Maryland."
"We are thrilled with the addition of these sixteen individuals to the board," said Patrick Wojahn, President of the Equality Maryland Foundation Board. "The combined depth of knowledge and skill they have around legislative, administrative and non-profit management activities will be a true benefit to the work of the organization."
New members of the Equality Maryland board include: Karen Blood, Angie Callahan, Joe Davy, Izzy Firth, Evan Glass, Katheryn King, Akil Patterson, Sue Silber, Pegeen Townsend and Tim Williams. They will join David Lublin, Rosemary Nicolosi, Lisa Polyak, and Mark Yost who currently serve on this Board. Joining Wojahn and Nicolosi on the Equality Maryland Foundation board are Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein, Robert Blizard, Ariel Glasner, Manuella Hancock, Marilee Lindemann, and Reverend Donna Martin. Board members will serve a two-year term, renewable for a total of six consecutive years.
The Nominations Committee was chaired by Erin Leveton who served on the Board from 1999 to 2003 and as President of the Board from 2000 to 2003, and Senator Madaleno who served on the Board from 1999 to 2002. Also serving on the Nominations Committee were Delegate Mary Washington, Chrys Kefalas, Mary Anne Arnow, Mike Meller, Kathleen Darden, Marvin Masterson, and Lori Hollander. Wojahn served as the liaison between the Committee and the existing Board.
"We have spent the past four months building Equality Maryland into an organization that will be well-managed and resourced to achieve our mission of full legal equality for the LGBT community of Maryland," said Lisa Polyak, Acting President of Equality Maryland. "The addition of these new board members is one more step in that process, and we look forward to putting their combined talents in the service of gender identity nondiscrimination and marriage equality in our state."
Additional information about all board members is available at www.equalitymaryland.org.