Thursday, January 5, 2012

VIDEO: The Workforce Case for Marriage Equality // Labor Unions Lining Up Behind 2012 Legislative Effort

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a grassroots group supporting equal rights for LGBT families, issued a new video (see below) to kick off 2012. The web ad features a worker's perspective on marriage equality and coincides with the announcement of serious support for the effort from labor unions (see the press release that follows the video)

The backing from labor news is good news for equality advocates, because as Maryland Juice mentioned when naming Senator Allan Kittleman Marylander of the Year, rightwing groups are threatening to spend big money on this issue. The Baltimore Sun, however, recently reported that these may be empty threats against a coming wave. Their analysis of 2011 lobbying expenditures noted:
The Human Rights Campaign, a national group that supports same-sex marriage, spent $380,000. That put the group at No. 7 on the list -- and they are playing an even more visible role this coming session.

The group vastly outspent an opposing advocacy organization, The National Organization for Marriage, which supports traditional marriage. NOM put $165,000 toward influencing the General Assembly.

Maryland Juice this week also received the following press release announcing a press conference today, where numerous labor unions came out in support for marriage equality:


Unions Announcing Plans to Mobilize for Marriage Equality

AFL-CIO MD/DC State Council Unanimously Approves Resolution Supporting Same-Sex Marriage, Now Gearing Up to Back Bill in Maryland’s 2012 General Assembly
  • What:  Press conference to announce labor’s support for marriage equality
  • When:  Thursday, January 5, 2012; 11:00am – noon
  • Where:  611 North Eutaw Street Baltimore, MD 21202
  • Who:  Fred Mason, President, Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO; Ezekiel Jackson, Political Organizer, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East; Donna Cartwright, Co-President, Pride at Work
BALTIMORE — Maryland’s 300,000-member labor federation will announce its plans to mobilize for marriage equality at a Thursday press conference. The Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO unanimously passed a resolution supporting same-sex marriage at the end of 2011, and its backing is expected to bolster efforts to pass legislation in the General Assembly allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Local unions within the coalition have vowed to mobilize members in support of the legislation, which Governor Martin O’Malley will include in his legislative agenda early next year.

“We stand with Governor O’Malley,” explained Fred Mason. “We appreciate his leadership on this important issue for Maryland’s working families. We need our legislators to step up too.”

Resolution 16, which was adopted unanimously by delegates to the 2011 convention of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, calls on state lawmakers to support “marriage equality legislation in Maryland that effectively protects religious freedom.”

The role labor played with a broad coalition of supporters is cited by many as central to last year’s victory for marriage equality in New York State.


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