Equality MD’s innovative survival

Following up on an earlier blog post about the threat that Equality MD, an important human rights organization, might have to close its doors, Matthew Snider provides an update and better news.

/By Matthew Snider/ One of Maryland’s most important progressive voices – Equality MD – was at risk of being forced to wrap up operations until recently due to funding concerns. Back in June, the Progressive Maryland blog made the argument for why Equality MD is still so important to advocating for the LGBT community in our state, and as recent events have shown, the LGBT community remains at risk. Events this year have demonstrated that violence towards the trans and gay community remains alarmingly persistent, even with victims in Maryland, and that local and state-level laws continue to challenge the community despite waning bias elsewhere.

In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges a number of LGBT rights organizations have closed their doors – and Equality MD appeared to be poised to follow. But Equality MD’s mission has never been so exclusively tied to same-sex marriage as were some others that faced closure after Obergefell (e.g. Freedom to Marry). Its mission and the challenges facing LGBT Americans every day both before and after the SCOTUS decision encompass far more than marriage (and often more stress-inducing issues than marriage, like workplace, housing, and trans protections).

Equality MD’s decision to merge with FreeState Legal – a legal aid organization dedicated to providing legal services to LGBT Marylanders – helps guarantee that Maryland’s progressive community will continue to lead the way by renewing its commitment to providing comprehensive political and legal advocacy to the LGBT community. Many of the issues that continue to present challenges to LGBT Marylanders will require both the immediate provision of legal services – to challenge discriminatory practices in court – and the foresight Equality MD can provide by advocating for structural political change.