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2013 in photography

2013 was a banner year for the LGBT community. Here are the top Washington Blade photos of the year. (Washington Blade photos by Blake Bergen, Tyler Grigsby, Michael Key, Kevin Majoros, Damien Salas, Lee Whitman and Jon Wooten) buyphoto 

03
Jan
2014

Brown tops Gansler in latest Md. fundraising report

Anthony Brown, Diane Stollenwerk, Maggie McIntosh, Mary Washington, Ken Ulman, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade

From left: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Diane Stollenwerk, Del. Maggie McIntosh, Del. Mary Washington and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. (Photo by Sam O’Neil)

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown has developed a significant fundraising advantage over his Democratic challengers in the race to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, raised nearly $5.4 million between Jan. 10, 2013, and Jan. 8, according to their latest campaign finance report they filed with state officials on Wednesday. This figure includes a $250 contribution Equality Maryland’s PAC made on Jan. 6 — less than two weeks after the statewide LGBT advocacy group endorsed Brown and Ulman.

Brown and Ulman, who ended his own gubernatorial bid last spring after Brown tapped him as his running mate, had slightly more than $7 million on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Attorney General Doug Gansler and his running mate, state Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s County), reported they raised nearly $1.7 million during the same period. They reported they have slightly more than $6.2 million in the bank.

State Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) reported she and her running mate, Rev. Delman Coates, raised more than $1.1 million between Jan. 10, 2013, and Jan. 8. This figure includes slightly more than $284,359 in public funds the campaign has thus far received.

Mizeur and Coates’ campaign finance report indicates they had slightly more than $747,000 on hand at the end of the latest reporting period.

“I’m grateful for this tremendous outpouring of support from people who share our vision of a better Maryland for more Marylanders,” said Brown in a statement, noting education remains among his top priorities. “With a successful 2013 under our belt and growing momentum, we look forward to a busy and productive legislative session to build a better Maryland for more Marylanders.”

Gansler campaign spokesperson Bob Wheelock said the latest finance reports indicate the attorney general “has the resources and the record to not just win this race, but build the best Maryland for everyone.” Wheelock also criticized Brown and Ulman for reporting joint fundraising totals eight days after the start of the current legislative session during which lawmakers and elected statewide officials cannot accept campaign contributions under Maryland law.

“Their report of joint fundraising totals shows the mockery they are making of the ban on fundraising,” said Wheelock.

Joanna Belanger, campaign manager for Mizeur, said the Montgomery County Democrat’s report shows Marylanders are “responding” to her ticket’s message.

“We have a committed army of volunteers, grassroots donors and supporters who want to spread the word and ensure that Maryland families are number one in Annapolis next year,” said Belanger.

A Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies poll conducted last October indicates 41 percent of likely Democratic voters would vote for Brown in the June 24 primary, compared to 21 percent who support Gansler and 5 percent who back Mizeur. A third of respondents said they were undecided.

Republican gubernatorial candidates reported they raised far less money during the latest reporting period than their Democratic counterparts.

Harford County Executive David Craig raised nearly $250,000 between Jan. 10, 2013, and Jan. 8. He reported a bank balance of slightly less than $155,000.

State Del. Ron George (R-Anne Arundel County) reported he raised slightly more than $130,000 during the same period and had $15,449.89 in his campaign bank account.

Former congressional candidate Charles Lollar raised about $65,000 between Nov. 27, 2012, and Jan. 8. His campaign finance report indicates he had only $5,731.35 on hand at the end of the reporting period.

State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County) reported his campaign to succeed Gansler as attorney general had slightly more than $795,000 on hand at the end of the latest filing period. State Dels. Jon Cardin (D-Baltimore County), Bill Frick (D-Montgomery County) and Aisha Braveboy (D-Prince George’s County) reported slightly more than $374,000, $133,000 and $9,200 respectively.

Kevin Walling, a gay former Equality Maryland staffer who hopes to represent portions of Montgomery County in the House of Delegates, raised slightly more than $37,000 from when he formally declared his candidacy last June to Jan. 8. He reported he had nearly $31,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period.

16
Jan
2014

Mizeur finding momentum in Maryland

Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade, momentum

Del. Heather Mizeurwith running mate Delman Coates. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

There’s something very exciting taking hold in my home state of Maryland. State Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) has tapped into the same progressive energy that propelled Bill de Blasio to the mayor’s office in New York City and Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate.

Six months ago, Heather invited me to join her on probably the hottest August afternoon of the summer. She was speaking at a house party in Baltimore City. With the oppressive heat, I was expecting to meet a dozen or so interested voters. When we arrived we were greeted by over a hundred progressive activists eager to hear Heather’s vision for our state.

For nearly two hours Heather tackled tough issues – from marijuana decriminalization, to fighting for a fracking moratorium, slashing middle class taxes and campaigning against an unnecessary juvenile detention center in Baltimore City.

Heather has the momentum and her vision is resonating with voters. In a recent survey polling likely Baltimore City voters, Heather and her running mate, Pastor Delman Coates, scored a huge upset coming in second and only three percentage points behind frontrunner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and his running mate, County Executive Ken Ulman (32 to 29 percent).

Maryland, despite being a progressive powerhouse, has never elected a female chief executive and no state in the nation has ever elected an openly LGBT governor. With the opportunity to shatter both of those barriers, national organizations are quickly coming to the aid of the Mizeur/Coates campaign.

In the last month alone, Heather earned the support of EMILY’s List, the National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority and was recently announced as one of the top “Women to Watch in 2014” by MSNBC.

Five months is an eternity in electoral politics and if Heather continues to tap into the same progressive energy that propelled de Blasio, Warren, Baldwin and others, we are going to witness a tremendous victory for our community in June.

Kevin Walling is a candidate for Maryland House of Delegates from Montgomery County.

28
Jan
2014

Mizeur formally introduces running mate

Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur on Wednesday announced her running mate, Rev. Delman Coates (left), at a campaign event in Silver Spring, Md. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur on Wednesday formally announced a prominent Prince George’s County pastor who backed the state’s 2012 same-sex marriage referendum as her running mate.

The Montgomery County Democrat who represents Takoma Park and Silver Spring in the Maryland House of Delegates introduced Rev. Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton during a campaign event at American Legion Post 41 in Silver Spring.

“I am not just picking a running mate for an election season,” Mizeur said. “I’m choosing a partner who’s best situated to help me deliver on a shared vision for the future of Maryland.”

Coates’ wife Yolanda and their four children and Mizeur’s wife, Deborah Mizeur, joined the ticket on stage as the Montgomery County Democrat’s running mate spoke to supporters.

“My life’s work has been on the front lines of our biggest community issues,” Coates said, referring to his support of marriage rights for same-sex couples and efforts to curb home foreclosures and to help people reintegrate into society once they are no longer incarcerated. “I have stood up for justice. And I stand before you today not driven by professional or personal ambition, but by a calling to bring hope to others when they need it the most.”

Coates, whose congregation has more than 8,000 members, in February 2012 testified in support of a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to legally marry in the state.

Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the measure a few weeks later, but same-sex marriage opponents collected enough signatures to prompt a referendum on the law.

Coates appeared in a television ad in support of Question 6. The Prince George’s County pastor also joined Rev. Al Sharpton and other prominent black clergy who urged Marylanders to vote for the law during a September 2012 press conference at the National Press Club in D.C.

Question 6 passed last November by a 52-48 percent margin.

Coates noted to the Washington Blade after the campaign event the ticket includes a Baptist minister and a lesbian at a time when the National Organization for Marriage said it wants “to exploit this wedge or divide between these two communities.” He stressed their bid is primarily about substance.

“I accepted Heather’s invitation because I think it’s important to return Annapolis to the people,” Coates said. “It really for me is about governing from the bottom up where the concerns, interests of the people are prioritized over the interests of special interests.”

Mizeur will face Attorney General Doug Gansler and Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown in the state Democratic primary in June. She could become the country’s first openly gay governor if Maryland voters elect her to succeed O’Malley.

Gansler last month tapped state Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s County) as his running mate. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman in June joined Brown’s campaign after he abandoned his own gubernatorial bid.

Mizeur told the Blade she began talking with Coates over the summer about potentially joining her campaign.

She said she feels her running mate’s experience as a pastor and efforts in support of same-sex marriage, protecting voting rights and other issues will serve him well as lieutenant governor.

“He’s no stranger to our political process,” Mizeur told the Blade. “He has used his relationship to the community to not just be of service on Sundays, but to roll up his sleeves and be engaged in the community making a difference day in and day out. And that translates incredibly well to the work that we have before us in Annapolis.”

Gansler entered the race in September with a significant financial advantage over his Democratic opponents.

A poll that Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies released on Oct. 17 found Brown ahead of Gansler among likely Maryland voters by a 41-21 percent margin. Slightly more than five percent of respondents said they would vote for Mizeur in the Democratic primary.

In spite of these hurdles, Mizeur’s supporters told the Blade on Wednesday they support her decision to tap Coates has her running mate.

“It’s an excellent choice,” Suchitra Balachandran of College Park said. “Between the two of them we will be addressing topics and discussing issues that otherwise will not happen in a campaign.”

Kevin Walling, a former Equality Maryland staffer who in July declared his candidacy to represent portions of Montgomery County in the House of Delegates, described the ticket as “a dream team.” He said Mizeur’s decision to choose Coates as her running mate came as a surprise, but stressed supporters will respond to him well.

“Once folks meet Delman and see him up close and personal and they get to know him, I think he’s going to win them over,” Walling told the Blade.

14
Nov
2013

Mizeur seeks to legalize marijuana in Maryland

Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur on Tuesday announced she supports the legalization of marijuana in the state.

The Montgomery County Democrat who represents Silver Spring and Takoma Park in the Maryland House of Delegates said her proposal that includes taxing the drug would raise $157.5 million a year. Mizeur said her administration would spend these additional funds on early childhood education in Maryland.

Mizeur told Bruce DePuyt of News Channel 8 on Tuesday that black Marylanders are disproportionately targeted under the state’s current marijuana laws.

“Marijuana’s time as a controlled, illegal substance really has run its course,” she said. “We know marijuana laws have ruined lives. They’re enforced with racial bias and they distract law enforcement from serious and violent crimes.”

The Montgomery County Democrat unveiled her plan to legalize marijuana in the state less than a week after she formally announced Rev. Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton as her running mate.

Mizeur will face Attorney General Doug Gansler and Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown in the state Democratic primary in June. She could become the country’s first elected openly gay governor.

20
Nov
2013

Race for Maryland guv gets more interesting

Heather Mizeur, Deborah Mizeur, Delman Coates, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur named Delman Coates (on right) as her running mate at a rally in Silver Spring last week. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

It’s still early and Marylanders are far from making up their minds on which candidate they will choose in the Democratic primary next June. Last week one candidate, Heather Mizeur, made what some consider a daring political move in naming Pastor Delman Coates as her running mate.

Coates is senior pastor of an 8,000-member Baptist congregation, Mount Ennon Baptist Church, in Clinton Md. Mizeur touted Coates’ strong stand in favor of marriage equality and other progressive issues in naming him her running mate. Many in the Maryland LGBT community applauded Coates for that stand last year, which distinguished from many other members of the African-American clergy in the state who opposed same-sex marriage.

This was clearly a strategic move by Mizeur to garner attention to her campaign and it worked. Dan Rodricks in the Baltimore Sun wrote, “I’m doing this as a public service to Marylanders who have been seeing this name with greater frequency lately and wondering about it.” He did go on to mention “the recent Goucher Poll that had Mizeur dead last in name recognition among not only fellow Democrats but all gubernatorial candidates, Republicans included. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown ran first and Democrat Doug Gansler was second.”

The announcement of Coates as her running mate also merited a quarter page in the Washington Post Metro section. In that column, Coates is quoted as saying, “He is joining a long tradition of religious figures who have moved into the political realm.” They reported he mentioned both Dwight Clinton Jones, mayor of Richmond and a Baptist minister; and Walter Fauntroy, a Baptist pastor who served as the District’s delegate to Congress for nearly 20 years starting in 1971. It may behoove Mizeur to suggest to Coates that he not use Fauntroy as an example he would follow because Fauntroy always confused his role as a pastor with that of a public official when voicing fierce opposition to granting the LGBT community equal rights.

Although this announcement of Coates as running mate offers Mizeur a boost in name recognition, it raises some red flags for those who believe in the total separation of church and state. Some believe that those who choose to be professional religious leaders of any stripe should stick to their business of saving souls and not run for office. In contrast to those pastors who have sought elected office, there are others, like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of my personal heroes, who had a huge influence on people and policy but did it from outside government rather than as an elected official.

The Post quoted Coates as saying, “the ticket would bring ‘transformational’ change to Maryland.” Many reading that surely wondered why he thinks Maryland needs transformational change. It would appear that Maryland is doing quite well and is at minimum headed in the right direction.

Pastor Coates is clearly a progressive. The concern some Maryland voters might have is whether he can truly separate his role as a pastor from his role as a spokesperson for civil government. A question to ask is whether he will be taking a leave of absence from his duties with the church should he be elected. The mission stated on his church’s website is: “We seek to share the love and Good News of Jesus Christ and to equip disciples to further God’s purpose in the earth” and some of the core values listed are “Biblical Preaching and Teaching – 1 Peter 1:24-25 The Word of God is the final authority; it is true; it is unchangeable; it is to be used to equip the saints to achieve our mission. Another is Unity – Ephesians 4:2-3 in unity, we endeavor to walk together on the same road and in the same direction as we are led by Jesus Christ.”

Mizeur’s campaign will find out if after the initial boost in name recognition that the Pastor Coates announcement brings enough Marylanders comfortable with this choice to vote for her in the primary.

20
Nov
2013

EMILY’s List backs Heather Mizeur

Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

EMILY’s List on Dec. 13 announced it would encourage its members to contribute to Heather Mizeur’s Maryland gubernatorial campaign. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON—EMILY’s List on Dec. 13 announced it would encourage its members to contribute to Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur’s campaign.

“Heather Mizeur is a progressive powerhouse who will fight for the rights of Maryland’s women and working families from day one,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock in a statement.

Mizeur’s campaign in a Dec. 13 e-mail to supporters described the announcement from the PAC with more than three million members that support pro-choice Democratic women who run for office as “a game changer.”

The Montgomery County Democrat represents Silver Spring and Takoma Park in the Maryland House of Delegates. Mizeur, who tapped Rev. Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton as her running mate last month, could become the country’s first elected openly gay governor if voters next year elect her to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Mizeur earlier this month announced she would accept public campaign funding in the Democratic primary.

She is the first Maryland gubernatorial candidate to use this system since 1994.

18
Dec
2013

Equality Maryland endorses Anthony Brown for governor

Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Heather Mizeur on Dec. 23 questioned why Equality Maryland endorsed Anthony Brown for governor. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Maryland’s largest LGBT advocacy organization on Monday announced it has endorsed Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown for governor in an apparent snub of lesbian state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) who is seeking the same office.

“We are proud to put our support behind the Brown/Ulman ticket for governor and lieutenant governor,” said Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans in a statement. “After meeting with the three declared Democratic candidates, we believe that Anthony Brown and [Howard County Executive] Ken Ulman will be the most effective governor and lieutenant governor for Equality Maryland’s issues and for the citizens of Maryland.”

Brown stressed his ticket’s ongoing support of marriage rights for same-sex couples and other LGBT-specific issues in a statement after Equality Maryland announced it’s endorsement.

“We’ve made great progress over the past seven years, achieving marriage equality and strengthening domestic violence services for LGBT residents, while working to ban discrimination based on gender identity,” he said. “Ken Ulman and I are committed to maintaining Maryland’s position on the right side of history at the forefront of the fight for equality, and we support all Marylanders and their families.”

Mizeur described the Brown endorsement as a “puzzling choice” in a statement.

“No one in this race has done more for the LGBT community than the Mizeur-Coates ticket,” she told the Washington Blade. “I’m not sure what more we could have done to earn their support.”

Evans defended her organization’s decision to endorse Brown — and not Mizeur.

“I suppose any candidate that doesn’t get an endorsement feels snubbed,” Evans told the Blade. “Equality Maryland is confident the Brown/Ulman administration will provide the leadership Equality Maryland needs in our next governor and has the relationships we need to move LGBT issues forward in our state.”

Brown will face off against Mizeur and Attorney General Doug Gansler in June’s Democratic primary.

Gansler in 2008 became the first statewide official to back marriage rights for same-sex couples in Maryland when he testified in support of the issue during a state Senate committee hearing. Both he and his running mate, state Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s), and Mizeur are among the elected officials who attended Equality Maryland’s 25th anniversary brunch in Baltimore in October.

EMILY’s List earlier this month announced it would encourage its members to contribute to Mizeur’s campaign.

The Montgomery County Democrat in November tapped Rev. Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton as her running mate. Coates in February 2012 emerged as one of Maryland’s most prominent same-sex marriage supporters after testifying in support of a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to legally marry in the state.

Mizeur would become the country’s first elected openly gay governor if voters elect her to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Equality Maryland also announced it has endorsed state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) and state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City). The statewide LGBT advocacy group said in a press release that it’s political action committee will announce at least one more round of endorsements in the coming months.

“Equality Maryland’s PAC has worked since 2006 to help elect individuals who will fight for LGBT equality,” said Equality Maryland PAC Chair Tim Williams. “it is remarkable that seven years later, we have come to a point where all three Democratic candidates for governor are enthusiastically supportive of LGBT issues.”

23
Dec
2013

Mizeur reportedly taps Delman Coates as running mate

Rev. Delman Coates, Rev. Al Sharpton, clergy united for marriage equality

Rev. Delman Coates (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Published reports indicate Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur on Wednesday will formally announce a Prince George’s County pastor who backed the state’s 2012 same-sex marriage referendum as her running mate.

The Washington Post late on Tuesday reported the Montgomery County Democrat who represents Takoma Park and Silver Spring in the state House of Delegates had tapped Rev. Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton. The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday published a similar story.

Mizeur is scheduled to formally announce her running mate later on Wednesday during a campaign rally at American Legion Post in Silver Spring.

Campaign spokesperson Steven Hershkowitz declined to comment on reports that Mizeur had tapped Coates to join her ticket.

Coates in February 2012 emerged as one of Maryland’s most prominent supporters of marriage rights for same-sex couples after testifying in support of a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to legally marry in the state.

Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the measure a few weeks later, but same-sex marriage opponents collected enough signatures to prompt a referendum on the law.

Coates appeared in a television ad in support of Question 6. The Prince George’s County pastor also joined Revs. Al Sharpton, S. Todd Yeary of Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore and other prominent black clergy who urged Marylanders to vote for the law during a September 2012 press conference at the National Press Club in D.C.

Question 6 passed last November by a 52-48 percent margin.

“I thought it was important for me to take a stand,” Coates told the Blade during an interview in February.

Mizeur will face Attorney General Doug Gansler and Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown in the state Democratic primary in June.

Gansler last month tapped state Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s County) as his running mate. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman in June joined Brown’s campaign after he abandoned his own gubernatorial bid.

Mizeur could become the country’s first openly gay governor if Maryland voters elect her to succeed O’Malley.

13
Nov
2013

Year in review: Gallaudet suspends administrator for signing marriage petition

Angela McCaskill, Wyndal Gordon, Maryland marriage petition, same sex marriage, gay marriage, Gallaudet University, Washington Blade, gay news

Angela McCaskill (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The suspension of a senior Gallaudet University administrator who signed the petition that prompted a referendum on Maryland’s same-sex marriage law sparked outrage a little more than a month before Election Day.

Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz on Oct. 10 announced he had placed Dr. Angela McCaskill, who is the D.C. school’s chief diversity officer, on paid administrative leave after two lesbian faculty members filed a complaint after they discovered she signed the petition. McCaskill, who has been in her current position since Jan. 2011, identified the women as Martina “MJ” Bienvenu and Kendra Smith during an Oct. 17 press conference in Annapolis.

“I was shocked, hurt, insulted,” she said through an interpreter, stressing Hurwitz had sought to punish her for her decision to sign the same-sex marriage referendum petition as a private citizen. “They have attempted to intimidate me and tarnish my reputation.”

Same-sex marriage opponents immediately sought to highlight McCaskill’s suspension as an example of the consequences those who oppose nuptials for gays and lesbians could face if voters upheld the law that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in March — the Maryland Marriage Alliance launched an ad that featured McCaskill. Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which backed the same-sex marriage law, and the governor also criticized her suspension.

Clergy on both sides of the issue spoke out against the university’s decision to place McCaskill on administrative leave.

“It is unacceptable for Dr. McCaskill to be professionally sanctioned for merely exercising her right as a citizen in our democracy,” Revs. Donté Hickman of Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore and Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Prince George’s County, who both endorsed the same-sex marriage law, said in a joint statement that announced they were to hold weekly protests outside Gallaudet to urge administrators to reinstate McCaskill. “Our advocacy for marriage equality is about protecting the rights of all people, gays and lesbians, as well as those who may have a traditional view of marriage.”

27
Dec
2012