BALTIMORE, Jan. 29 Speaking to 3,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change today, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley expressed his hopes that Maryland will soon become the seventh state with marriage equality. The governor also talked about his support for efforts to secure gender identity nondiscrimination protections in the state.
O'Malley spoke to this largest annual gathering of LGBT rights activists just days after introducing the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012. He received numerous rounds of applause during his remarks to activists from around the nation who have been meeting this week in Baltimore to strategize and mobilize in this critical election year. The conference ended today.
"We have just begun our 2012 legislative session, and if there is a common thread running through the issues that we are addressing, it is the thread of human dignity the dignity of every individual and every family in our state," said O'Malley, adding, "The dignity which says that discrimination based on gender identity is wrong and that passing a law to protect transgender Marylanders from employment, credit and housing discrimination is the right thing to do. The dignity of a free and diverse people who at the end of the day, all want the same thing for their children: to live in a loving and caring and stable home that is protected equally under the law."
O'Malley then talked about the effort to secure marriage equality in Maryland. He mentioned the broad coalition working on the issue, including faith, labor, family and civil rights groups.
"Other states have found a way to protect religious liberty, religious freedom and to protect rights equally, and it is time for Maryland to do the same and that's why this week we proposed a civil marriage law in the General Assembly of Maryland and we seek to get it done this year," he said. "Our bill balances equal protection of individual rights with the important protection of religious liberty and religious freedom. Maryland was the seventh state admitted to the union. We believe with your help and a lot of hard work, we will be the seventh state to pass a civil marriage equality law."
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said, "We are honored to have Governor O'Malley with us today at the conference, and with us in the struggle for equality and dignity of all people. Maryland is on the brink of making history, and the governor is showing true leadership in helping to lead the way."
To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit www.theTaskForce.org, Twitter: @TheTaskForce.