Marriage Equality

Working for Equality

In 2012, Maryland became the eighth state in the nation to enact marriage equality into law, standing on the side of fairness, justice, and equality for all. Delegate Heather Mizeur and Reverend Delman Coates played crucial roles in its passage in the legislature and its victory at the ballot box. 

Passage in the General Assembly 

Winning marriage equality was personal for Heather and her wife Deborah, who were married in a 2005 ceremony along the Chesapeake Bay and again legally in California.  

Heather’s work began in 2004 when as a Takoma Park City Councilmember, she helped Takoma Park become the first municipality to pass a resolution in support of same-sex marriage. 

Heather and Deborah worked hard to openly show their love and commitment to one another, breaking down the walls of fear that prevented full equality. In Annapolis, Heather was a consistent vocal champion, advocate, and co-sponsor of marriage equality legislation each year.

The first breakthrough came in 2011, when marriage equality won passage in the state Senate. During the House floor discussion that year, Heather gave an impassioned address that Baltimore Magazine credited as “one of the most memorable [floor] speeches” of the marriage equality debate.


Maryland Becomes #8 

After passage in the General Assembly, Heather and Delman spent six months working to secure victory on Question 6 at the ballot box.

Heather traveled to every corner of the state to rally volunteers and find supporters on Question 6. She funded Question 6 ballot issue outreach videos to win support, opened up her personal offices for weekly phone banks, and helped raise campaign funds to win the referendum effort. 

For his part, Reverend Coates is widely credited with helping turn the tide on the issue by rallying black clergy to be voices of support for equality. He appeared in television commercials supporting Question 6 in the final days before Election Day.

Through these efforts, Heather and Delman were honored to play important roles to win marriage equality. But victory in 2012 was a shared victory, won by the thousands of LGBT Marylanders and allies who fought for equality and fairness. No single elected official, interest group, or advocacy organization deserves more credit than any other. This historic victory was won together.