Organized Labor Pushes For Marriage Equality In 2012

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Supporters of same-sex marriage in Maryland have a new ally, and it’s potentially a powerful one.

Alex DeMetrick reports organized labor says it will do whatever it can to get same-sex marriage passed into law.

When same-sex marriage was legalized last year in New York, supporters in Maryland felt more than ever it could happen here.

Now big time labor thinks the same, and Thursday in Baltimore, the AFL-CIO announced it would fight for it.

“And we expect the full support of all of our affiliates to make sure it becomes law in the state of Maryland,” said Fred Mason, president of Maryland-DC AFL-CIO.

That support will put pressure on state legislators in the upcoming session. But it is already driving a wedge into some, who normally back union issues.

“I’m very disappointed.  I’ve supported the AFL-CIO every step of the way, and I will continue to do so, except on this issue,” said Del. Emmett Burns, (D)-10th District.

Strong opposition is a given, but labor’s backing is generating optimism same-sex marriage could become law.

“I really think it demonstrates the mainstream support that’s out there for marriage equality and also the momentum we have to pass marriage equality in 2012,” said Sultan Shakir, Marylanders for Marriage Equality.

Organized labor enters what is sure to be a political fight in Annapolis. And in a number of Maryland homes, the outcome couldn’t be more personal.

“I am in a relationship.  We have children. We both go to work, and she wants to have the same rights to take care of my daughter like I would want to take care of hers,” said Laquona Surgeon, Marriage Equality supporter.

“We will defeat this bill in the House, and if not, certainly in referendum,” Burns said.

Meaning even with big labor’s support, same-sex wedding invitations in Maryland remain on hold.

When the legislative session opens later this month, Governor O’Malley will introduce a same-sex marriage bill for debate and a vote.

More from Alex DeMetrick
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  • Baltiimore County Voter

    why not let them get married

  • TruthTeller

    Ok for gay marriage as long as I can claim my dogs as dependents on my tax returns. Otherwise, no cigar. This bs has gone too far and the unions should stick to what they do best which is hose their members for dues money.

  • adraine

    what the #$%& is this world coming to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sharon

    In the Garden of Eden, its was Adam & Eve NOT Adam & Steve. This totally goes against Gods’ Laws.

  • MIke


    God is a fictitious character in an old book

  • tom the bomb

    truth teller you couldnt be more truthful WELL SAID

  • theone

    Why can’t this issue be voted on by the citizens instead of government nic-nacs who want to force this down our throats. I guess fair is fair, but only when certain parties are concerned. Correct, this is BS. And Mike, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I wish you continued health and strentgh.

  • vv

    A bunch of small minded bigots seem to have the loudest voices initially!!!! Truth wins people.. This is 2012 … open your mind to equality for ALL…. people … humanity… remember!

  • Union Member

    Labor is a group of people with liberal leaders. I pay dues to a local, but I do not agree on most items they recommend. The leaders count for ONE vote each not the entire group of members. So let them endorse anything they want, but who cares. All labor union members ARE not in agreement with this.

  • BaltimoreCityVoter

    Seriously people… This is a fight about the state of Maryland giving marriage rights to two consenting adults – not about claiming dogs as humans on your tax return.

    If your religion forces you to disagree, go ahead and disagree. But do so in Church and not in a state government office. Gays are not asking to be married in your Church, they are asking to be recognized and protected under the law of Maryland.

    My Church has been marrying consenting adults (gays, interracial, straight) for years, and this practice has not destroyed man/women marriage any more than men/women have done on their own.

    [Throws Bible back at you…]

  • Susan

    Well said! Maryland is not a church state, so it is irrelevant what some dusty old book or religion says. I am always amused that the only “reason” to oppose same gender marriages people can offer up is quotes from some book they think is important. Folks, your bibles are simply books you like, but many others do not follow them and think religious books of any persuasion, do not belong in government. The Constitution guarantees all of us freedom of religion, so we should be free not to have to adhere to someone’s particular holy book. Nobody will be forced into marriages, you can still marry whomever you want to, male or female. Your church can perform religious ceremonies as they see fit, we are talking civil marriages performed outside of a church. Religious beliefs should guide individuals, not determine state laws!

    If two consenting same gender adults want to marry, they should be able to and enjoy the same benefits and pitfalls as opposite gender married couples do. The couples already exist, the only thing that will change is their legal rights. If you happen to oppose same gender marriages, that’s fine, but please just remember to keep your personal beliefs out of the rights of others.

    We also need to think of all the money that same gender marriages would bring into Maryland with people traveling here to get married!

    • Joanne

      If you will, Susan, take a moment and hear the crickets chirping as none of these wackos have a valid counter argument to your point. There is no legal reasoning behind their argument. We have the Constitution, the law of the land, behind our side and they have “‘God’ said it is wrong” on theirs. Notice – Grocery stores are still allowed to sell non-kosher items for those of us who are not Jewish. My God does NOT say gay marriage is wrong, so they have no right to pit the law against me and tell me what I can and cannot do because their “god” forbids me.

  • Concern

    Organized Labor can help Central Falls, RI School District by using Charity Search Engines.

  • Vance Mack

    Well your God is lying to you…Just like this country and many more around the world. Excuse Me”! The Consitution was written by man and It had The Lord’s word in mind when published. People who truly knows The Almighty word don’t have to argue with people with no insight of anything. This country and mainly this world goal is to destroy God Commandements and put Satan Commandment in hindsight. “Man” distorded believe that he is his own “God” going against everything that is true to nature. As the biblical storie tells us keep living in sin and you will see your damnation. Universal law tells us opposites ions attracts not two of the same ions, you are forcing things against nature. And if you keep forcing something that don’t fit you will destroy that object. Like when that crazy mad german scientist name Albert who smoke opium and learned how to destroy God’s creations E=Mc2 by slitting the Atom. “You Big Dummy….

    • JQP

      Sorry, Vance, but just because your priest says it, doesn’t make it so, and the creators of the Constitution were largely Deists, not Christans and their focus was not on the word of the Christian concept of God’s “word”, it was on the EqUALITY OF MEN.

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by THEIR Crerator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”.

      The Constitution does not designate God as being the Christian version, nor does it stipulate your endowments as being contingent upon your affiliation with a Christian church.

      You are deluded if you think that an Omnipotent Creator will be duped by word smithing. You’re not fighting for a moral at all, you just want the world to know that Christians are as capable of oppression by way of denying HUMAN BEINGS the use of a WORD, as any other religiously ruled nation… Afghanistan comes to mind.

    • BaltimoreCityVoter

      I’m Christian (not Catholic), and therefore my God and Jesus is the same as yours. I agree with you – sort of – regarding the Constitution. It was written by spiritual people with a belief in a higher power. Where I disagree is that our founding fathers sought to create a “Catholic” society. That was not true – otherwise Catholics would be superior, and all men would NOT be created equally under the Constitution.

      Laws in AMERICA apply to everyone, equally, regardless of age, sex, religion, or race. Unfortunately for gays, the religious arguement has gotten in the way of state rights for everyone equally. This is the exact opposite of our founding fathers idea of a society free from religious persecution.

      Again, you have every right to continue believing that gays are subject to eternal damnation. But do so in Church, and not in a state office in AMERICA.

      PS- Gays (and straights for that matter) are not magnets or ions. They are consenting adults who are biologically wired to be attracted to members of the same sex. That’s the diversity of nature.

      • JQP

        Voter, well said. I may have been more long winded and less compassionate.

      • BaltimoreCityVoter

        Thanks JQP! I thought your reply was very similar to mine. Looks like we were just a few minutes apart :D

    • Come on, really?

      Do you think that God is so easily destroyed? Don’t you find that to be silly? He is all powerful, all knowing, all encompassing…I don’t think that he feels threatened by Albert Einstein, and if he did, well,then, he has that all tied up in a nice little bow, now doesn’t he?

  • Joe

    I’m a union member and I do not like unions getting into something where they don’t belong. Fighting for fair wages, safe working enviroments and conditions is one thing but getting into special interest gruops that have nothing to do with labor issues is certainly another. This whole thing smells of O”Mallyisms.
    No wonder why union membership is falling.

    • Joanne

      Although I support marriage equality, I agree with the question – why is labor involved in this? Shouldn’t they be dealing with, well… labor? I don’t think it is fair to union members with the opposite opinion on the marriage for their union to endorse issues unrelated to labor or for their dues to be used on anything besides labor-related concerns.

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