November 6th will be a historic Election Day for Maryland's LGBT communities and our allies. Voters will decide whether the Civil Marriage Protection Act (Question 6) is upheld. Voters will also decide whether to uphold the Dream Act (Question 4). The mission of Equality Maryland centers on making life better for all LGBT Marylanders. To this end, Equality Maryland supports Question 4 and I am urging Maryland’s LGBT communities and our allies to do the same.
There are several reasons why Equality Maryland supports Question 4. One centers on our mission— to work for equality for all LGBT Marylanders, which includes undocumented, immigrant LGBT students. These individuals are a segment of the LGBT community that many people never think about. These young people came to the United States as children. Many had to learn a new language; adapt to a new culture. And on top of all of that, they also had to come to terms with being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Now, most LBGT folks in Maryland did not have to confront the challenges of a new language and culture, but all of us can identify with the challenges of sharing our lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender identities with our families and friends. We know how difficult the coming out process can be, if not in our own experience, then in the experiences of others we care about. And many incredible undocumented young people who EQMD is working with did exactly that. They live openly as LGBT, even though they lack the legal protections that come with documented immigration status.
Another reason Equality Maryland supports The Dream Act is to show solidarity with Maryland’s immigrant communities and the organizations that serve them. CASA of Maryland, for example, has publically, consistently, and unapologetically supported LGBT equality. Further, Latinos in Maryland view marriage equality as an issue of fairness. Currently, a majority of Latinos in the state support Question 6 (marriage equality). EQMD views the Dream Act the same way; it is an issue of fairness.
To help you understand why we view Question 4 as one of fairness, I hope you will visit our website to learn more about this issue. In the coming weeks, I will introduce you to four Maryland LGBT undocumented immigrant students who share their stories filled with determination, perseverance and hope.
I will be spending weekends in October knocking on doors of voters in LGBT and progressive neighborhoods asking them to support Question 4. If you want to help in these efforts, please email me.
Stand with us and this segment of our community by voting for Question 4.