This year Baltimore celebrated LGBTQ Pride against the backdrop of legal same gender marriage in Maryland. Same gender marriages started on January 1, 2013 following a referendum passed in November 2012. Marylanders voted FOR Question 6 by a 52-48 percent margin. Question 6, “Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license…”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake officiated at the city’s first mass same gender wedding ceremony at Pride. Nineteen couples were married in Druid Hill Park surrounded by hundreds of well-wishers.
This year faith communities marched in the Baltimore Pride 2013 parade. Commenting on the passage of Question 6 last year, the Baltimore Sun said the victory could be “traced in part” to the involvement of the faith community, in particular to the fact that two African American Southern Baptist ministers chose to “lend their names, faces and reputations to a campaign on an issue that remains highly controversial in their community.”
Here is Doris Cowan’s report from the parade:
When the Gay Pride parade kicked off in Baltimore on June 15, a number of faith communities were present – and Presbyterians were an important part of the event. Faith Presbyterian – one of the organizers of the effort – and Brown Memorial Park Avenue – were proudly marching behind the banner, FAITH COMMUNITIES OF BALTIMORE with PRIDE – as was First & St. Stephens United Church of Christ. But the largest number came from St. Matthews Roman Catholic church – the real instigator of the effort. Long before we started actively recruiting walkers, St. Matthews had paid all the entry fees (Faith paid for the banner)! Their goal was to have 100 walkers – I think the final number was 115! Their enthusiasm was contagious as we planned the event. Their LEAD ministries – their program to welcome LGBTQ’s – is an important part of the life at St. Matthews – and fits well with Faith’s participation in MORE LIGHT Presbyterians. Faith and St. Matthews are long-time friends – both are active participants in the events of the Loch Raven (Blvd) Ministerium. In fact the two churches are planning to do anti-bullying workshops together in the fall. And we’re already talking about Gay Pride 2014!
Gay Pride 2013 was an exhilarating experience – crowd reaction was awesome as we passed by – the cheers we received were exciting – especially to one St. Matthews walker who had knee surgery 2 weeks ago and pushed his wheel chair along the parade route accompanied by his husband – and to an 82-year old, long-time ally – member of Faith – who purchased a cane so that she could walk the route!!! Of course each church carried their own banner, too – we wanted people to know the churches that would welcome them! And, of course, Faith and St. Matthews were present on Sunday for the festival in Druid Hill Park!!! We do work well together!!!
BTW Faith has had a booth or table at the Sunday festival for years, but this was their first time to walk in the parade. Thanks to St. Matthews for making it possible!!! Govans Presbyterian had a booth at the festival, too.
A good showing of Presbyterians for PRIDE!!!
More photos available at The Advocate.