Travis Tazelaar, a former executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party and manager of the recent reelection campaign of Baltimore’s mayor, has taken on a new challenge: pushing for legalization of same-sex marriage in the state.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality announced Wednesday that it has enlisted Tazelaar, a Prince George’s County native, as its field director. Tazelaar will oversee grass-roots efforts statewide to ensure lawmakers hear from their constituents as they weigh another same-sex marriage bill in the coming session, the group said.
“I am grateful to the coalition for giving me the unique opportunity to make history in this great state,” Tazelaar said. “I look forward to building on what is already a strong foundation of support for marriage equality and getting a bill through the legislature. This issue is about fairness, commitment, and family.”
Tazelaar’s hiring comes as both sides gear up for another fight over the high-profile social issue in January.
A same-sex marriage bill cleared the Senate last session but fell short in the House of Delegates, traditionally the more liberal chamber. Bill advocates attributed the defeat in part to a belated lobbying effort in the House, where support was not as solid as many thought.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality also unveiled its latest in a series of Web videos on Wednesday, seeking to build support for its efforts. The new one features Irene Huskens, a police officer in Prince George’s County who says she is a lesbian and one day would like to marry and have a family.
“As a police officer in Prince George’s County, I can tell you we need more happily married people who build stable communities,” says Huskens, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served in the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s.
The video is the fifth in a campaign that kicked off with one by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who has agreed to sponsor the same-sex marriage legislation this year.