As I continue to try and catch up on the lack of writing the past few weeks...
Two weeks ago I attended the Equality Maryland Lobby Day, which I was originally planning to attend when Snowlyshit part 1 occurred. For the fifth year in a row I would be talking to my state legislators about supporting same-sex civil marriage rights and also about extending rights and protections to those who are transgendered. Luckily for the most part I have a supportive delegates and senator, but it took a few chats with them to get this way.
So I organized St. Georges involvement with lobby day and with the help of TD as well, including doing an education forum the day before to go over what bills were coming up in the current legislative session and which legislators had been supportive and which ones needed work. Monday afternoon, I would organize any carpooling and we'd head down to Annapolis. I picked up my "grandma" and we drove through the rain to get there and park.
After sitting in the meeting area for a while, a few more folks from my district joined us and so we started talking about what was coming up while we waited for our coordinator from Equality Maryland to arrive. Eventually it started getting late and he hadn't arrived, so somehow I ended up with the information folder that our coordinator was going to carry. We did get in touch with him and he arrived soon after we had gotten into the delegate building and found our way up to the offices.
We met with Justin Ross in the hallway, and our discussion focused mainly on how to get the bills out of committee because they always tend to stall there. There was also plenty of thank yous going around because Ross has come around in the last few years in regards to same-sex marriage. He had been all for equal rights, but couldn't quite get on board with calling it marriage, at least until he heard more from folks about the issues they were facing that married couples did not face. Also brought up was the expectation that the state Attorney General, Doug Gansler, was going to rule that state law would allow recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states, but that the ruling was probably going to be delayed until towards the end of the session.
Anne Healey was our next meeting and within the last two years she has gone from neutral to being supportive, so again it was more of a thank you and a reminder as to what was coming up. We did not get a chance to see Tawanna Gaines as she was in a meeting.
Our last meeting was with Paul Pinsky, who has pretty much been a full ally since I started bugging him about this five years ago. He and Ross both think that most legislators would support these bills, if they would get out of committee. What it will take is defeating those who sit on the judical proceedings committees in both houses that are non-supporters. Unfortunately they don't live in my district, but maybe I'll just have to pay atttention and see if anyone challenges their seats in the legislature.
After all the meetings, it was definitely time to go home, another good year of speaking with folks, but hopefully I won't have to do it for much longer.