By David Mixner -
When it came time to vote in the Maryland Assembly we just didn't have the votes. In order not to suffer a public defeat and keep the legislation alive it was referred back to committee. The likelihood of marriage equality legislation surfacing again in Maryland is almost nil until at least 2012. Again, common wisdom appears to have played games with our expectations. The State Senate was supposed to be our challenge and with intense work we passed this body with ease. The Assembly was supposed to be easy and it is here we fell on the sword.
As with every case, the anti-marriage equality National Organization of Marriage (NOM) sweeps into yet one more state with substantial resources and apparently halts us once again in our legislature efforts. We even lost one of our prime sponsors from Prince George's county who received massive calls at the last minute from African-American ministers. In Montgomery county a young first term Democratic State Assemblyman Sam Arora who was elected with our money and a firm pledge to vote for marriage equality, totally betrayed us. If there is any justice, the LGBT community in the DC metro area should do everything in its power to defeat this spineless, unprincipled liar in the next election.
In any case, the issue would have gone to referendum if the vote had passed marriage equality. There is still reasonable doubt in my mind that we are ready for such a vote. Maybe it is time for a gathering of some of our best political minds to review the strategies in different states and see what we are doing right and where we need to change. We have our conferences for our major donors (OutGiving) and one for our grassroots activists (Creating Change). Why not convene our best and brightest political minds?
Time for one of our sympathetic foundations to host a small gathering of our best political minds. People who have won on this issue before, others who have won campaigns and some of our successful elected officials. Equality Maryland has my admiration and respect but it is the national community that needs to pause and reflect. We have won these ballot measures in the past and we should be ready to win them in the future.
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