Saturday, October 13, 2012

Did Gay Group Seek to Suppress Maryland African-American Vote?

from the Baltimore Sun
Ballot committee reports due today will show that the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force received "support" from Penn National Gaming to send out a mailing over the summer opposing the special session.

"I still think it was worth a try," said Darlene Nipper, the Deputy Executive Director of the task force. who confirmed the Penn donation. "We are trying to get marriage across the finish line in Maryland."

Nipper said the reports filed today with Maryland State Board of Elections will show that her group spent about $350,000 on the mailing. She did not say how much came from the gambling company.

Over the summer her group -- along with several others -- were concerned that adding a gambling expansion measure to the November ballot would fire up African-American churches, who also oppose same-sex marriage. They sent out a controversial mailing saying supporters of same-sex marriage should oppose a special session to expand gambling.

The dynamic caused angst for Gov. Martin O'Malley -- who was pushing gambling expansion and same-sex marriage. He did not want to be accused by gay advocates that his gambling bill could jeopardize the marriage law. Also, the it threatened a fragile coalition that Democratic leaders in the House were trying to build to support the gambling bill.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the main group supporting the same-sex marriage law, said they were not concerned about the gambling measure. They said they believed African-American turnout would be high this year regardless of the ballot questions because blacks are expected to turn out to support President Barack Obama.

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