Baltimore Sun Blog: Marriage Coalition Launches in Maryland!


Michael Dresser at the Baltimore Sun's Maryland Politics blog:

Religious opponents of a planned push to bring same-sex marriage to Maryland have launched a new coalition, bringing their organizing efforts into two Democratic strongholds that are expected to be a battleground for the votes of African-American legislators.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, described as a multi-racial and bipartisan coalition of supporters of the traditional definition of marriage, held a news conference Wednesday morning in Prince George's County and planned a second kickoff event in the afternoon in Baltimore.

... An estimated 70-80 clergy and other Catholic and Protestant leaders gathered at St. Stephen's Baptist Church in Temple Hills for the morning news conference. While those attending were almost entirely Protestants and Catholics, alliance spokeswoman Julia Vidmar said the organization will actively seek the participation of Mormon, Jewish, Islamic and other faith groups.

The alliance will be led by Pastor Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Family Alliance. McCoy said no elected officials were expected for the Temple Hills event, but he said he expects church groups to have a significant influence on lawmakers in Prince George's and Baltimore.

"We're going to continue to expand and reach more and more people, but we understand all politics is local," McCoy said.

Republicans, with the exception of Sen. Allan H. Kittleman of Howard County, are expected to provide a solid bloc of votes against any effort to recognize same-sex marriage. The battle, as it did last year, could largely come down to a handful of African-American delegates who normally vote with their party but are influenced by conservative churches on matters of family and marriage.

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