Maryland same-sex marriage campaigns tout business, religious supporters

Mark Gail/The Washington Post - Bishop Angel Nunez speaking at a Maryland Marriage Alliance news conference in February. Looking on is Derek McCoy, chairman of the group.

Proponents of same-sex marriage in Maryland highlighted growing business-sector support on Friday, while opponents showcased a sizable group of religious leaders who advocated defeat of Question 6 next week.

“Marriage is more than what any two adults want,” Derek McCoy, the chairman of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, the lead group opposed to the measure, said at an event in Beltsville. “It is about future generations and our culture.”

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McCoy was flanked by about 75 religious leaders, most of them from Christian churches, including Erik Arnold, a Catholic priest, who acknowledged the strength of the other side.

“We know we stand against powerful political forces, and the deep pockets of Hollywood and special interest groups,” said Arnold, the pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Ellicott City.

He asked the group to pray that “God’s loving influence” would be with them as voters go to the polls on Tuesday. “We know our future is in his hands, and we pray that his will may be done on Election Day,” Arnold said.

Maryland voters are being asked whether to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage law that Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed in March. If affirmed, gay couples would be allowed to marry starting in January.

On Friday, Marylanders for Marriage Equality released the names of four additional businesses that support Question 6, including Nike, Inc., the sports apparel maker; and Nordstrom, the department store chain.

Two businesses with local headquarters were also included on the list: Timonium-based Pay Pal and Bethesda-based Calvert Investments.

“We believe Question 6 is about fairness and equality under the law,” Bennett Freeman, a senior vice president at Calvert Investments, an investment management firm, said in a statement. “It’s good public policy and a smart business practice that enhances competitiveness.”

Marylanders for Marriage Equality also unveiled a new television ad Thursday that the group dubbed its “closing argument.”

“While there are those trying to divide us, Presidents Obama and Clinton stand with us,” a narrator says. “Pastors, business leaders, newspapers, Democrats and Republicans are all coming together for 6 because it’s about fairness, treating everyone equal under the law. And who could be against that?”

 
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