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Could Gambling Doom Maryland’s Marriage Equality Law?

Could Gambling Doom Maryland’s Marriage Equality Law?

 

Could a proposal to open a new casino in Maryland doom the state’s new marriage equality law? That’s the fear LGBT rights groups have expressed this week.

Governor O’Malley is backing a measure that would allow the state’s sixth casino to be built in conservative Prince George County and is expected to introduce a draft bill for the Legislature’s attention during the August special session. If approved by both chambers, the measure would go before voters at the November ballot where voters will also be deciding on the state’s marriage equality law, which is due to come into force, if retained, in January.

The worry is that gambling laws tend to bring out religious conservative voters in droves, something that would not bode well for same-sex marriage.

Reports the Washington Post:

So, same-sex marriage boosters are worried about the potential for a perfect storm that could lead to the defeat of the state’s law. There’s the prospect of casino operators spending millions to put the kibosh on a sixth casino. This could gin up the anti-gambling base of opponents that Kefalas told me is comprised of rural voters and African Americans, who oppose gambling for religious reasons.

“Any campaign to defeat a new casino might entail dragging religious opponents to gambling out of the woodwork,” said Jeff Krehely, vice president for LGBT research and communications at the Center for American Progress. The Maryland pollster I talked with echoed this concern, saying that a gambling referendum “adds to a ‘this is against our values’ argument” among those more conservative voters.

Maryland is a state that has no competitive statewide races and won’t see much of the presidential race because it is a lock for President Obama. Because it is widely believed that support for marriage equality is not nearly as strong as we think, anything that pulls more conservative voters to the polls, for whatever reason, is seen as a threat to the law. With same-sex marriage never winning at the ballot box, advocates are right to be worried.

This would also seem to risk watering down the positive effect President Obama’s support for marriage equality had in mobilizing African Americans in Maryland to support gay marriage.

Still, these are early days. While O’Malley is believed to have support enough in the Senate, the state’s more conservative lower chamber is rumored to look on the proposal less favorably.

 

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Jeff Kubina.

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32 comments

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10:09PM PDT on May 28, 2013

This is my very first time that I am visiting here and I’m truly pleasurable to see everything at one place.
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4:54AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

let me make a correct - it wasn't Equality Maryland that sent the mailing - it was the National Gay and Lesbian Task force - generally someone I have respect for (hella more than HRC and it's BS image branding of queer life as politics) and should note that Equality Maryland OPPOSES the mailing. Good.

4:46AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Sigh... So, instead of fighting what we KNOW to be the fight Equality Maryland wasted my money with a mass mailing to tell ME to tell my Maryland legislator to vote AGAINST the gambling legislation. ARGH! Meanwhile they have been almost COMPLETELY absent in the more mainstream media (YouTube doesn't count) in putting the position out there about GAY MARRIAGE. So on this one I think they are "wrong headed" in the worst way. They have gambling and it sucks - it's set up to pilfer from the poor. Table games at least levels that insult somewhat. So, instead, are we going to be the ones that shore up inequality in one camp so we can have equality in our (more upper and middle class) homo world???

4:46AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Sigh... So, instead of fighting what we KNOW to be the fight Equality Maryland wasted my money with a mass mailing to tell ME to tell my Maryland legislator to vote AGAINST the gambling legislation. ARGH! Meanwhile they have been almost COMPLETELY absent in the more mainstream media (YouTube doesn't count) in putting the position out there about GAY MARRIAGE. So on this one I think they are "wrong headed" in the worst way. They have gambling and it sucks - it's set up to pilfer from the poor. Table games at least levels that insult somewhat. So, instead, are we going to be the ones that shore up inequality in one camp so we can have equality in our (more upper and middle class) homo world???

2:36AM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Fools ....

8:09PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Wow...I would expect the religious right would have shown up the moment they heard same-sex marriage is being voted on. I don't think either should be up to vote, people have the rigth to marry any consenting adult they want, and people should be allowed to ram themselves in debt and live with the results of that decision. I live in New Jersey, so we have Alantic City. Some people ram themselves in debt while others go for fun from time-to-time, and others don't go at all.

7:21PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Mike C said-"majority rules?" Yes Mike, but only with "minority rights"!

7:20PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Wow I had not thought about that.

3:04PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Amazing the many different ways that issues which should be Legal become Religious. Clearly, the Governor knows exactly what he is doing and it's definitely a disappointment to play these games. No wonder people are so disillusioned with politics and government.

2:46PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

I was surprised that Governor O’Malley a Democratic would seek to get the gambling issue on the ballot knowing full well that the conservatives will flock to the polls. Maybe we will get lucky and the Maryland legislature won't pass the measure. At least I can hope. Thanks Steve for the article.

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