From Queer Channel Media:
The Human Rights Campaign is expected to emerge as the coordinator of a reorganized coalition of national and local LGBT groups pushing for passage of a same-sex marriage bill in the Maryland Legislature next year, according to sources familiar with the effort.
In a separate development, a new statewide transgender advocacy organization called Gender Rights Maryland announced its presence on the Maryland political scene this week, saying it will take the lead role in pushing for a “comprehensive” gender identity non-discrimination bill.
Attempts failed earlier this year to pass same-sex marriage and gender identity bills in the Maryland Legislature. Now, insiders familiar with LGBT politics in the state say these two new developments represent a shakeup of the established order, where the LGBT group Equality Maryland led lobbying efforts on behalf of the two bills for the past seven years.
Meanwhile, rumors that HRC has offered to make a significant cash contribution to the financially troubled Equality Maryland in exchange for the group allowing HRC to select its next executive director were heightened this week when HRC’s regional field director, Sultan Shakir, began working at Equality Maryland’s headquarters office in Baltimore on Monday.
“HRC is working with local and national groups to help build a strong campaign to pass Equality Maryland’s entire legislative agenda next year,” said HRC spokesperson Fred Sainz. “While HRC currently has a field staffer working in the Baltimore headquarters to support their new executive director, there are no set plans to keep him there,” he said.
“Reports of large cash contributions in return for certain actions are completely false as evidenced by the fact that Equality Maryland has a leader,” Sainz told the Blade on Wednesday.
Sainz was referring to the selection last month by the Equality Maryland board of LGBT rights advocate Lynne Bowman of Ohio as Equality Maryland’s interim executive director. The board, which said it was conducting a search for a permanent executive director, named Bowman to the interim post after firing the previous executive director, Morgan Meneses-Sheets.
Meneses-Sheets’ dismissal prompted the group’s development director and chief fundraiser, Matthew Thorn, to resign in protest, raising questions about whether the staff turmoil would further hinder the group’s finances.
Two sources familiar with Equality Maryland who spoke on condition that they not be identified, said some Equality Maryland staffers and board members reported that HRC had expressed an interest in installing HRC’s Shakir as the lead decision maker for Equality Maryland regardless of the title he would assume.
Was Joseph Bonaparte busy?
In a statement released on Tuesday, the newly formed group Gender Rights Maryland announced that former eye surgeon and nationally recognized transgender rights advocate Dana Beyer will serve as the group’s executive director.
Sharon Brackett, president and CEO of a Maryland-based systems engineering company, will serve as chair of the group’s board, a statement released by the group said.
Three other founding board members include Donna Cartwright, co-president of Pride AT Work, an LGBT group within the AFL-CIO; Caroline Temmermand, division chief for Parks and National Resources for Arlington County, Va.; and Alex Hickcox, former board member of Equality Maryland.
…the surviving members of the 1962 New York Mets are petitioning the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball to have Gender Rights Maryland declared to be an honorary major league baseball team in order for its eventual record of accomplishment to be converted into baseball won-loss equivalency – with the presumption that this will be the only way that 40-120 will ever be surpassed in the negative.
The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 2008 Detroit Lions could not be reached for comment.