Gov. Parris N. Glendening is making sure everybody knows his support for a gay rights bill isn't wavering.
Two weeks ago, he told reporters he didn't expect to include the bill in his legislative package unless the Senate's conservative Judicial Proceedings Committee, which bottled it up last session, changed membership or the bill was moved to another committee. The man who decides such things, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Prince George's) said neither is likely and that the legislation is dead.
Glendening (D) has vowed not to give up and met last week with gay rights activists in a private session at the State House to pledge that he would work with them to pass the legislation before leaving office.
"My support for this bill has not wavered a bit and, in fact, has only strengthened," he said in a statement after the meeting. Also last week, Glendening was guest of honor at a Bethesda fund-raiser for Free State Justice, Maryland's leading gay rights group.
If Glendening doesn't put the bill in his legislative package, it is a strong signal he doesn't expect it to pass during the session. But the governor has promised to support the proposal actively, whether it is in his package or is sponsored by someone else.
"The governor will be working with the Senate as a whole and [the Judicial Proceedings] committee in particular," said his spokesman, Michael Morrill.
Nancy Meyer, chairwoman of Free State Justice, said that she came away from the meeting convinced Glendening is committed to the legislation but that she realizes passage might take time. If it is not passed in the next session, Meyer said, she is optimistic Glendening can get the legislation through before he leaves office.
"Everything doesn't live or die on whether the governor submits this in his package or not. Our goal is to get the bill passed. Period," she said. "I don't have any doubt he'll do as much [in the coming session] as he did last year, if not more."
A Summit at Show Place
Hundreds of Democrats gathered in Upper Marlboro on Saturday for the state party's first summit, which kicked off get-out-the-vote efforts for next year's presidential election.
At the Show Place Arena, the activists heard from former Colorado governor Roy Romer, who is chairing next year's Democratic National Convention, and from U.S. Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., of Illinois, who gave a keynote address. Also speaking were Glendening, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who is up for reelection next year.
The party has a goal of mobilizing 10,000 volunteers for Election Day 2000. "Ten thousand is a big number, but the Democratic Party is as strong as ever," state Chairman Peter Krauser said.
Bucks in Baltimore
Poultry magnate Frank Perdue, NAACP head Kweisi Mfume and state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer all donated to Martin O'Malley's campaign for mayor in Baltimore, according to the latest financial reports.
O'Malley enjoyed wide support from the business community, the reports show. More than 250 mostly business supporters gave more than $1,000 each to O'Malley, who has raised more than $1.3 million.
Schaefer (D) donated $5,800 left over from his last campaign. Mfume donated $2,000 he had remaining from a past congressional race. O'Malley received $6,000 from the campaign of his council colleague, Robert W. Curran, who is the uncle of his wife.
Perdue, of Salisbury, gave O'Malley $500, as did former Baltimore mayor Thomas D'Alesandro. David Modell, vice president of the Baltimore Ravens, contributed $3,000. Modell's wife, Olwen, added another $3,000.