Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Race-Baiting Group Funds Anti-Marriage Equality Petitions // Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake & Black Leaders Speak Out

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that anti-marriage equality advocates have announced they have gathered twice as many signatures as needed to subject civil rights to a majority vote this November. Marylanders for Marriage Equality has revealed, however, that the race-baiting organization "National Organization for Marriage" has financed most of this operation.

See the press release from civil rights advocates below, which includes a statement from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The release is followed by a second press release from the Maryland Black Family Alliance, hailing the surge in African American support for marriage equality.


Race-Baiting NOM Funds Maryland Petition Drive

BALTIMORE - The National Organization for Marriage, the national anti-gay group that produced the infamous race-baiting memos, has funded a significant portion of Maryland Marriage Alliance's signature gathering efforts, according to official disclosure reports filed with the state. The Alliance spent about $70,000 collecting signatures, with about $25,000 in cash coming from NOM. NOM also gave the Alliance an additional $58,000 of in-kind donations for the petition drive.

“Regardless of where you are on the marriage issue, there is no room for racial exploitation,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “Marriage equality is about building stronger families and protecting children of same-sex couples, and their efforts to divide Marylanders based on race is a tactic that will hurt us all.”

In March a federal court ordered NOM’s internal documents to be unsealed. One of NOM's key goals, according to the documents, is to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key democratic constituencies…Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key.”

Marylanders for Marriage Equality launched a Facebook and Twitter campaign urging supporters to share this graphic to tell the National Organization for Marriage that racial division won't work in Maryland and that Marylanders know when they're being used.

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.



Maryland Black Leaders Hail New Poll Showing
Growing African American Support for Marriage Equality
May 24, 2012

BALTIMORE – Today, the leaders of the Maryland Black Family Alliance (MBFA) celebrated the announcement of a new poll showing that growth in African American support for marriage equality is helping to create a huge public opinion swing in favor of legal protections for all families in Maryland. Overall, the Public Policy Poll of Maryland voters shows a decisive majority (57%) would vote in favor of same-sex marriage if it is on the ballot in November, while 37% would vote against.

"These numbers confirm what those of us in the community already knew – that when we are faced squarely with the question of whether all Maryland families should be treated as equals, not in the church house, but in the State House – we stand on the side of justice,” said Rev. Larry Brumfield, President of the Maryland Black Family Alliance.

The MBFA is a coalition member of Marylanders for Marriage Equality (MME), which released the poll today. In a press release, MME today highlighted a memo by PPP pollster Tom Jensen noting there has been a “major shift in opinion about gay marriage among black voters [in Maryland].” Fifty-five percent of African Americans now say they would vote for the law and only 36% oppose it. These numbers have essentially flipped since PPP conducted an identical poll in March.

The MBFA believes that recent announcements by both President Barack Obama’s and the NAACP’s of support for marriage equality have helped to create a positive environment for African Americans to have real conversations about why all families, including Black families headed by same-sex couples, deserve to be valued.

"People tend to believe that African Americans are dead set against marriage equality. However the reality is that African American attitudes are not half as intense as people thought they were,” said Lester K. Spence, Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. “And when trusted elites like President Obama or even JayZ express support, African Americans tend to revisit and revise their own attitudes."

Founded in 2007, the Maryland Black Family Alliance is an alliance of straight, black allies who are faith leaders, elected officials, social workers, artists, professors, activists, attorneys, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends who all believe injustice for all of Maryland families - including those headed by same-sex households.

Working in partnership with black LGBT leadership and advocacy organizations, the MBFA’s seeks to frame the discourse among black Marylanders on civil marriage for same-sex couples, as well as educate and empower allies and potential allies about issues of importance to Maryland's black LGBT communities, including HIV/AIDS, combating violence and addressing issues of social justice.

Learn more at the Maryland Black Family Alliance website.


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