HRC Blog

Conversations at the Polls in Maryland

Frederick Douglass HS studentsThis post comes from HRC Diversity Program Associate Hy Alvaran:

It's been 9 hours at the polls at Frederick Douglass High School in Prince George's County, MD, a predominantly African-American county where HRC has been doing a lot of work educating people about Question 6 in support of marriage equality. I've been working with allies in the NAACP to hand out literature and answer questions about Question 6. I've been having a deep and respectful dialogue with opponents and undecided voters of Question 6 about the religious aspects of their views and answered their questions about who I am as a same-gender loving person and why I support marriage equality: to be able to take care of my partner, in sickness and in health, just like any other loving couple in Maryland.

I appreciate the opponents of Question 6 for having deep and meaningful conversations with me about equality for LGBT people even though we may not agree; it is these kinds of conversations that we need in order to clarify others' misconceptions of us as LGBT people and, more importantly, really listen to why other people might struggle to support our issues. That is why local pastors play an important role in speaking up about equality for LGBT people, and I appreciate being able to point to supportive Maryland pastors in our literature. I also really appreciate the members of the NAACP who stood by me today and helped me talk to people about supporting marriage equality. When I first got here at 7am, I felt really alone. But when they showed up, I realized the strength in numbers and coalition.

The NAACP is a recognized leader in the African-American community. When their volunteers and I said that the NAACP supports marriage equality, people listened. And I learned a lot from their volunteers about the struggles of voting in the African-American community, a struggle that is still very real in today's world. It's been such an engaging day for me to be working at the polls, and I appreciate both of our allies and our opponents for educating me about the issues that they care about. Because of them, I am better-versed in talking about my experiences an LGBT person, and I am more deeply aware about the intersections of race, religion, and the equal and civil rights struggles.

Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Avenue. NW, Washington, DC 20036, Chad Griffin, President.
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