U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) spoke out forcefully for legalizing same-sex marriage toward the end of a lengthy rally in Annapolis on Monday night in which several other labor-backed priorities were front and center.
“I was married for a little while,” Edwards, a Prince George’s County resident, told the crowd assembled on Lawyer’s Mall outside the State House. “I chose to be married. Then I chose not to be. But in the state of Maryland, I could. ... That should be the case for all Marylanders.”
A YouTube video of the congresswoman’s testimonial was distributed Tuesday by Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a coalition pushing for passage of a bill during the 90-day session that began last week.
A similar effort fell short last year in the House of Delegates, in part because of resistance from African American lawmakers from Prince George’s, who cited church and community opposition.
“I know that this is really tough,” Edwards said Monday night. “I go to church too, y’all. And I’ve heard it, too. And I want to say to all of our faith leaders out there that I understand that probably in my Baptist church in Maryland, it is not likely that there will be performed — in my church — gay marriages.”
But, Edwards argued, that should not be the basis for setting state policy.
The fight over the legislation is expected to intensify next week when Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) formally introduces a bill. Advocates of the legislation acknowledge that, even with the governor’s help, passage is not guaranteed.
Labor leaders, who hosted Monday night’s rally, have pledged to make the bill a priority out of solidarity with union members who are gay.